Feb 18 2011

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships



ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships

Cape Town, South Africa – 18 February 2011

ChessCube, the world leader in online chess tournaments, with over 20,000 tournaments and 5 million games played per month, will partner with the organizers of the 2011 Commonwealth Chess Championships. ChessCube.com will run an online pre-event where three lucky winners will gain free entry, free accommodation at the venue’s Peermont Mondior hotel, as well as $1,500 in cash towards their flights and other expenses.

Graham Jurgensen, the convenor of the 2011 Commonwealth & South African Open Chess Championships, which will be held in Johannesburg South Africa from June 25th through July 3rd, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with ChessCube on this world-first online event. The real-world event will be held at the beautiful Emperors Palace Hotel Casino & Convention Resort, and the online event will give three lucky participants free entry and accommodation as well as expenses.”

The online tournament series is aimed at three groups: above 2000 players, 1700 to 2000 and below 1700 rated players. Each series will have a round robin final with eight finalists in each.

“Anyone in the world can enter the online event”, said ChessCube CEO Mark Levitt. “The Commonwealth Championships will be held in conjunction with the South African Open – and players who are not from commonwealth countries are still eligible for all cash prizes”. We are expecting a massive turnout for this online event and we would not be surprised if this breaks all known online tournament world records.”

ChessCube also sponsored the 2009 South African Open, where titled players participated from a second venue in Melbourne, Australia via www.ChessCube.com. This event made world chess history when FIDE, the world chess federation, worked with ChessCube to ensure that the Internet games, were officially rated, setting a precedent that could see tournaments using this technology in the future.

Useful links

ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChessCube
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChessCube
Tournament website: http://www.chessa.co.za/tournament_websites/CWCC2011/index.html
High Resolution Logo (PNG): http://www.chesscube.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ChessCubeLogo.png

Contact information

ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=7230957&trk=tab_pro
Office: +27 21 555 2019
[email protected]

About ChessCube

ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) was launched in May 2007 from its Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown into a community of over 1.4m avid chess players, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. ChessCube is an innovative, live chess platform, focused on online tournaments and live playing within a social community. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion. ChessCube’s investors include InVenfin, Vinny Lingham and Michael Leeman.

For more information or images, please contact Mark Levitt ([email protected]).


Jan 22 2010

President Jacob Zuma supports South African chess


The Nkandla community in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, had a great day when SA President Jacob Zuma arrived to take part in a chess tournament between surrounding schools. Nonkulueko Sithole was thrilled to play President Zuma, even though the President checkmated her in fewer than 10 moves. “This is the best day of my life. I never thought I would ever sit this close to the President and play a game of chess with him,” said the 14 year old.

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

In an interview after the game with City Press, Zuma said, “Chess is very important as it makes you a better and knowledgeable human being. I like games like chess and bridge because they stretch your brain to the limit. They make you think strategically”. President Zuma also challenged local businesses to support the sport financially. “Next year we must host a fundraising dinner party for chess right in the hall,” he said.

Kwazulu Chess Association President Sandile Xulu, one of the tournament organisers, said chess gave “young people the opportunity to compete, regardless of race or social standing”. “It provides a field of ideas, concepts and strategy for young growing minds,” he said.  In an interview with ChessCube Community Manager, Sean, Xulu said that KwaZulu Chess’ aim is to take chess into all schools, as well as to introduce it as a sport. Future plans would then involve working with the Department of Education to consider it as a subject in school in Kwazulu-Natal and particularly rural areas and all of South Africa. “This is exactly what President Zuma and I shared and want to see happen.” said Xulu. Speaking of President Zumas’ desire to have all children take part in chess tournaments, Xulu noted, “This (the Nkandla tournament) was our “OPENING MOVE”, which we hope will get supported and start rolling”.

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

ChessCube supports President Zuma’s vision, and will be launching an online schools chess initiative in South Africa and other countries from early 2010. The South African government, a number of NGOs and large corporations are doing a great deal to improve Internet and computer services in schools. ChessCube will be working with all providers to ensure that schools in South Africa can connect to ChessCube’s classroom service.

“ChessCube will provide facilities for children to play chess online and to receive online video training”, explained Mark Levitt, ChessCube CEO. “The basic service will be free to all schools in South Africa, and we will be working with big business to sponsor additional opportunities for South African youth.”

ChessCube’s classroom service will be at the forefront of a modern trend to popularise chess. Along with Venezuela, which has recently included chess in it’s official school curriculum, ChessCube considers the personal and societal benefits of chess to be of immense value. What are these benefits precisely? David MacEnulty, a famed chess teacher (the subject of a movie “The Knights of the South Bronx”) had this to say in a recent exclusive interview with ChessCube:

“One of the things you learn from playing chess is how to control yourself. You learn to have delayed gratification. You learn tremendous discipline and above all you learn to trust your own judgment. Once a child learns that he or she is smart enough to play chess, there’s not going to be any holding them back from anything else.”

“The biggest benefits come when children actually sit down and play tournament chess. Once you’ve played tournament chess for a couple of years, major transformations take place in a child. The question of relying on your own judgment really comes out.”

“When the children on my chess team in the Bronx went to junior high school they were much better prepared than many of their peers. In fact, the Principal of the junior high school once told me that the chess kids seemed to be a different breed altogether. You can tell the chess kids from the way they walk down the hall – there’s just more confidence in the way they walk. There’s more confidence in the way they interact with the teachers in the classroom. They don’t get into trouble because one of things that chess teaches us is to see danger ahead of time.

“One of the things that’s overlooked frequently is the social component of being on a chess team or just learning to play chess. When children work together on a team, even though chess is one person against one person, whatever is good for anybody on the team is good for everybody on the team.”

“Now when one of the kids from a place such as where I taught in the South Bronx wins a game against a very privileged child, that changes everybody’s attitudes. The recognition, that there, on the other side of the board, is my intellectual equal, that’s an amazing transformation that happens on both sides of the board. I think that’s a really critical thing that we should introduce to society everywhere, not just South Africa.”

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move


Times Live (Article)
City Press, 27 December 2009

Useful links
ChessCube Facebook Application: http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/
ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com

Jul 8 2009

News Release: World First: SA Chess Open includes Internet play


Cape Town. For immediate release.
ChessCube (www.ChessCube.com), a South African Internet Chess Company, is the sponsor of the 2009 SA Open, being held in Cape Town. The event has attracted players from all over the world, but a new twist is that three remote players have participated via the Internet from a venue in Melbourne, Australia.  Mark Levitt, the CEO of ChessCube, says, “ChessCube has worked closely with FIDE (the World Chess Federation), to construct a series of rules and procedures to be followed, so that for the first time in chess history, Internet games would be officially rated.”

ChessCube is an online chess service with over 600,000 registered users. The Internet initiative began in Cape Town South Africa in mid-2007 and has expanded to an international operation. North American and Indian players are the largest among 200 countries served by ChessCube’s US-based servers.

FIDE is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the supreme body responsible for the organization of global and continental chess.  It defines the rules of chess, both for playing individual games and the conduct of international competitions.

FIDE calculates the ratings of players. These ratings are used to awards titles such as International Master and International Grandmaster. It also awards the International Arbiter title, which signifies that the recipient is competent and trusted to oversee top-class competitions.

The SA Open’s R90,000 ($12,000) prize fund has attracted a number of players to Cape Town, including Grandmasters and International Masters from around Africa and the world, including players from 11 countries to make this the strongest SA Open ever.

In addition, International Grandmaster Gawain Jones from the UK, International Master Puchen Wang from New Zealand and International Master Mirko Rujevic from Australia, are located at a venue in Melbourne, Australia, under the watchful eye of World Chess Federation International Arbiter Gary Bekker (AUS).

“Originally ChessCube was planning to have a venue in the UK, or Europe”, said Levitt. “That would mean that the players would be in a relatively similar time zone. But the enthusiasm of the players from Australia won out, and despite the difficulty of playing chess from 2.30 am to 7.30am, the players from ‘down under’ have adapted to the grueling schedule.”

The initial photos coming out of Australia showed bleary eyed and tired looking contestants – but with a shift in sleeping patterns, the players seem to have adapted to the unusual times by the later rounds. Possibly this is the first example of jetlag via the Internet?

In South Africa, 300 contestants are playing at the Wynberg Boys’ High School hall. In order to manage the technical complexities  of the online games, the three local players are driven to the high tech ChessCube Headquarters at Century City in Cape Town, where World Chess Federation International Arbiter Simbarashe Murimi from Zimbabwe is overseeing the Cape Town Internet contestants.

“The local players have enthusiastically adopted playing their esteemed Australian opponents via the Internet,” said Levitt. “Only one player so far has hinted at the possibility that the remote opponent may be cheating by using software.  But on hearing that the Australian group are being chaperoned by an experienced hawk-eyed FIDE arbiter, the assertions were quickly dropped. The secret to creating an official FIDE presence in this event was to ensure that both sides had official FIDE authority”.

This form of multi-venue event, using the Internet to connect land-based venues, may be the answer to expensive air travel. Chess is probably the only Olympic sports that can take advantage of the Internet for participation. In the current downturn, the cost of living and high cost of travel has made an impact on International sports participation in general. Africa is probably the region with the most expensive air travel. It typically costs more to travel from one African country to another than to travel to a European destination. An African chess administrator recently lamented that it is cheaper to hold the all-African-chess events in Paris than in Africa!

“ChessCube is planning to expand this form of chess participation in 2010”, said Levitt. “We are planning a multi-country team event – where all the participants compete at a home venue under the guidance of one arbiter per venue!”

An added benefit of this form of competition is that spectators can watch the events from anywhere in the world.  All online matches may be watched by logging on to www.chesscube.com. The tournament continues at Wynberg Boys’ High School.

About ChessCube
ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) was launched in June 2007 from Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown to a community of over 600,000 avid chess players, and continues to grow. ChessCube is an innovative, and award-winning, live chess platform. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion, and many of ChessCube’s board members are avid, strong chess players themselves. ChessCube’s investors include Vinny Lingham of Lingham Capital.

For more information, please contact Mark Levitt ([email protected]) or Sarah Blake ([email protected]).