The Madibaz chess team are primed to handle the challenge which lies ahead when they compete in the University Sport South Africa tournament at Rhodes in Makhanda from December 1 to 7.
Club chairperson Khaka Nonyongo said one of the key factors was to keep calm under pressure and handling the fatigue which inevitably set in during competition.
“We’re ready and now we need to stay cool and collected in order to perform to the best of our abilities,” he said.
“The week-long tournament takes its toll on the body and the mind, especially later in the week, but this is something we have discussed in depth.”
Last year the men’s team were shaded for the title by one point, while the women’s team ended fifth.
Nonyongo, however, says they have a much less experienced team this year.
“Many of our senior players have completed their academics and the team is full of new, young and vibrant players.
“That also means we lack experience, but we are ready to perform to the best of our abilities and will be satisfied with whatever outcome we achieve.”
With the chess club holding practices on Mondays and Wednesdays, Nonyongo said the USSA players did much of their training during those sessions.
“At the beginning of the second semester we also started training every second Saturday morning to add some extra time to our preparations.”
The USSA tournament will consist of teams of 10 males and five females.
“Team members play as though it’s an individual tournament and points are added together at the end. There are prizes for the men’s and women’s sections and then also a combined prize.”
He rates University of the Western Cape, who are the defending champions, as a team to watch, while other varsities who could come into contention are Wits and Pretoria.