(1969 - 2006)

Darryl at the 2004 Natal Open

Darryl was born on 25 February 1969, and died on 28 March 2006, soon after his 37th birthday. He was taught to play chess by his father, but was soon able to beat him, and started reading chess books from the municipal library in order to improve his game. The simultaneous exhibition given by Karl Robatsch in early 1988 made a big impression on Darryl, and he subsequently played in the "C" section of the Natal Open in that year, where he tied for 6th place.

Darryl decided to join the Durban Chess Club in 1989, and made his mark very quickly in the Moss Kolnik Memorial Swiss. In the Durban Chess Club Bulletin I wrote "I was impressed by Darryl Mhlongo's win against Dave Turner. He is obviously a talented young player and plays with great speed and confidence". Darryl nearly caused a major upset in his game against Brian Byala (who was 2nd in the 1988 Durban championship), blundering in an ending when he was two pawns up.

Darryl made his debut in the 1993 Durban championship, where he ended with 6/9 just ½ point behind the joint winners. Had he not sealed an ambiguous move in an advantageous position against Gerald Boulle, he may well have been the 1993 club champion. In later years, Darryl battled to repeat this performance, with his best result coming in his final appearance in the 2004 championship, where he tied for 2nd place on a score of 6½ out of 9 games.

Other Results

Darryl competed in the Natal Open on numerous occasions, winning the tournament in 2001 with 6/7 after a titanic last round struggle with myself (see game below). He was crowned Natal Champion on a tiebreak, ahead of Danisa and Paraskevopoulos. He shared first again in 2003, but this time he lost out on the tiebreaks.

Perhaps Darryl's proudest moment came when he won the 1995 Fat Albert Open, a one-day tournament held at the University from 1994 to 1996. Darryl received the magnificent first prize of R2000 after scoring a full house 7/7. His game against Pekka Niiranen is given below.

Another tournament that Darryl delighted in winning was the Glenwood Open, which he won in 1997, 2000 and again in 2001.


This was played in the last round of the 2001 Natal Open, at the time limit of 90 minutes for the game:

Mhlongo,Darryl - Rust,Keith
Natal Open Durban (7), 24 September 2001

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Bb3 b4?! (going for a risky pawn grab as I was ½ point behind) 9.Na4 Nxe4 10.Nf5?! (the books say that 10.Nxe6! is best and I also looked at 10.Nb6!? here) 10...Nc5?! (so we both went astray, as 10...Bb7! was correct here, but not 10...exf5? 11.Qd5 Qc7 12.Qxa8 Bb7 13.Qa7 Nc6 14.Qb6) 11.Nxc5 dxc5 12.Qf3! Ra7 13.Qg3! exf5 (if 13...Nd7? 14.Nxg7+ Bxg7 15.Qxg7 Rf8 16.Bh6 wins) 14.Qxb8 Qc7 (forcing an ending with an extra pawn, but since none of my pieces can be developed, 14...Re7 might be better) 15.Ba4+ Ke7 16.Qxc7+ Rxc7 17.Bf4 Rb7 18.0-0-0 Be6 19.Rhe1 h6 20.h4! Rg8 21.h5! c4 22.Rd6 g5?! (Black is losing the exchange, but 22...Kf6 23.Rd8 Rh8 24.Bd6 Bxd6 25.Rxh8 was probably a better way of giving it up) 23.hxg6 Rxg6 24.Rxa6 Bg7 25.Bc6 Rd7 26.Bxd7 Kxd7 27.Ra7+ Kc6 28.Bg3? (28.g3! keeps control and wins easily) 28...f4 29.Bxf4 Rxg2 30.Be3 b3 31.cxb3 cxb3 32.a4? (surely 32.axb3 Bxb3 33.Kd2 was simpler) 32...Rg4! 33.Kb1 Bf5+ 34.Ka1 Bg6

(now the Ka1 is subject to mate two ways, either on the a-file, or on the back row, so White must be very careful. In some lines the h-pawn is hard to stop, so the extra exchange is worthless in this position) 35.Rc1+ Kd6 36.Bc5+ Kd5 37.Ra5 Ke6 38.Be3 Bc2 39.Bd2 h5 40.Bc3 Bh6 41.Re1+ Kd7 42.Rd5+ Kc6 (here Darryl had 22 minutes left to my 15 minutes, so I had to speed up) 43.Rd4 Rg2 44.Rf1? (44.a5! Bg7 (44...Rxf2? 45.a6+-) 45.Rf4 Rg5! 46.Bb4 keeps winning chances) 44...Bg5 45.Bd2? (funnily enough, neither of us saw that the Bishop swap loses, so 45.Bb4! Kc7 46.f4 Bf6 was best, with good compensation) 45...Be7? (I missed my shot at 45...Bxd2! 46.Rxd2 h4 47.Rd4 h3 48.Rh4 h2 and wins) 46.Re1 Bc5 47.Rc4 Kd5 48.Rh4 Bg6 49.Be3 Be7 50.Rd4+ Kc6 51.a5 Kb5 52.Rd5+ Ka6 53.Rc1 Bc2? (dropping the h-pawn as Rc6+ worried me, but 53...h4 54.Rc6+ Kb7 55.Rb6+ Ka8 56.Rd1 Bc2 was still fine for Black) 54.Rxh5 Rg4 55.f4 Rg2 56.Bd4 Bb4 57.Bb6 (White must avoid 57.Bc3?? Bxc3 58.bxc3 b2+ 59.Kxb2 Bg6+ 60.Ka3 Bxh5 etc) 57...f5! 58.Rg5 Re2 59.Rg8? (careless, as 59.Rg6! Bxa5 60.Bxa5+ Kxa5 was equal) 59...Bxa5? (blindly securing the draw, whereas 59...Bd2! 60.Rh1 Re4 wins on the spot due to the threat of ...Ra4 mate) 60.Bxa5 Kxa5 (we were both down to about 5 minutes each, so I stopped scoring here, and the remaining moves went something like this:) 61.Ra8+ Kb6 62.Ra4 Kb5 63.Ra3 Kb4 64.Ra8 Rf2 65.Rb8+ Kc4 66.Rc8+ Kd3 67.Rd8+ Ke3 68.Re1+ Kxf4 69.Rd4+ Kg5 70.Rg1+ Kf6 71.Rd6+ Ke5 72.Rd8 f4 73.Re1+ Kf5 74.Ra8 f3 75.Rg1 Kf4 76.Rf8+ Ke3 77.Re8+ Kd3 78.Rd8+ Kc4 79.Rc8+ Kb4 80.Rb8+ Kc5 81.Rc8+ Kd6 82.Re1 Re2 83.Rxe2 fxe2 84.Re8 Bd1 85.Kb1 Kd5 86.Kc1 Kc4 87.Kd2 Kd4 88.Rxe2 Bxe2 89.Kxe2 Ke4 90.Kd2 Kd4 ½-½ Ours was the last game to finish and the audience applauded us.

The next game was played in the last round of the 1995 Fat Albert Open, at the time limit of 25 minutes for the game:

Mhlongo,Darryl - Niiranen,Pekka
Fat Albert Open Durban (7), 26 August 1995

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.b4!? Bxb4 4.c3 Bc5 (4...Ba5 5.Qb3 gives compensation for the sacrificed pawn, or White could try 5.Nf3 Nc6 transposing to the Evans Gambit) 5.d4 exd4 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxc5 dxc3 (afterwards Pekka suggested 8...d5! 9.exd5 Nf6 was slightly better for Black) 9.Qxc3 Qf6 10.e5 Qe6? (the Queen is badly placed here, as Darryl's next move threatens Ng5+; better was 10...Qc6! with more or less even chances, and this was still playable on his next move) 11.Nf3 h6? 12.Bxh6 Qa6 13.Ng5+ Ke8 14.Bg7 Rh5 15.Qf3! 1-0 (there is no answer to the threat of 16.Qf8#)

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