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.
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
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#)