I met Peter for the first time in 1993, soon after he arrived in
South Africa to take up a position as a Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics
department at the University of Durban. Peter went on to become a Professor
of Mathematics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, before moving to the
University of Johannesburg, where he is currently a Professor.
Peter finished third on his debut in the 1994 Durban championship, and won the event outright in 1998, with the fine score of 6½ out of 7. Since that victory he has finished third on a number of occasions, but was unable to repeat his win until 2007.
I was privileged to attend Peter's inaugural lecture as a Professor, on his field of mathematics, which is graph theory. I knew the basics about the social theory of Six Degrees of Separation, whereby any person on the planet can be linked to another via six friends. However, I had no idea that this could be proved through graph theory. Peter also explained how the Google PageRank algorithm was derived from graph theory.
Some years ago there was a discussion on the chess newsgroups about "Morphy numbers" - how many opponents do you need to get a link back to Paul Morphy? Serious games only, not simultaneous games! Mine came to 6 - based on 0.Morphy played 1.Bird played 2.Lasker played 3.Botvinnik played 4.Fischer played 5.Sanguineti played 6.Rust. That magic number 6 again!
Peter has competed in the Natal Open on numerous occasions, winning
the Natal Closed title in 2000, and being the outright tournament
winner in 2004 (see the separate report).
This is one of Peter's favourite games:
Mabuya,MacDonald - Dankelmann,Peter
Championships Durban, 7 April 2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4!? 6.c3 b5 7.Bf1 Nxd5 8.Nxf7!? (or 8.cxd4 Qxg5 9.Bxb5+ Bd7 10.Bxd7+ Kxd7 11.0-0 is fine) 8...Kxf7 9.cxd4 exd4 10.Qf3+ (10.Bxb5 is safer, as Black can now boldly sacrifice his Rook) 10...Nf6! 11.Qxa8 Qe8+? (Peter forgets his theory! This is second best to 11...Bc5 here, for example 11...Bc5! 12.Bxb5 Re8+ 13.Bxe8+ Qxe8+ 14.Kd1 Bg4+ wins for Black) 12.Be2 d3 13.0-0 dxe2 14.Re1 Bc5 15.Nc3 b4 16.Rxe2?