Mpho Mabelesa
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he UPlympics took place on 22 April with mouth-watering events lined up for the day. The events were athletics, indigenous games, chess and blind chess. With all these events happening, it was chess that was ultra-competitive. As more than 50 players from the university came to participate and showcase their skills. 

Many might be asking now, why chess? Well, with the new wave of chess players around the world being drawn to the game it was an obvious inclusion. This new wave can largely be attributed to the cheating scandal involving international Grandmaster Hans Niemann late last year. Also, popular streamers like GothamChess and Hikaru Nakamura provide entertaining commentary that keeps people involved in the world of chess. Plus the genuine fun that can be had by playing the game has won over many fans. At the UPlympics competition the games were timed and lasted for 7 rounds. As a participant myself, the atmosphere in the playing venue was mysterious and intimidating because none of us knew how strong our opponents really were. SWe had to bring our A-game. When you sit down at the table and press the chess clock, the world seems to take a pause and it is just you and your opponent. It becomes an intense battle of who will make the first blunder because ultimately, chess played perfectly is a draw. With every piece movement, the heart skips a beat and you wonder whether you or your opponent has made that fatal mistake. The battle ends when the king has no legal moves and you shout “checkmate” or when the time runs out. Playing games like these weighs heavy on the brain. Hence in the tournament, players were listening to music during the games to calm their minds. 

There were some dominant performances in the tournament.It concluded with first place having 7/7 points. Second place with 6/7 and finally third place with 5.5/7. These top three players of the chess tournament received their medals and it capped a wonderful performance of the UPlympics event of 2023.