The first Natal championship that I could trace was held in 1956, when a mere 20 players entered the event. The tournament was won by Kenneth Kirby (SA champion 1959 and 1963) with a full score of 8/8. The youngest competitor was 18 year-old Eddie Pein, the uncle of CHESS magazine editor Malcolm!

There was then a big gap until 1967, after which the Natal Open tournament has been held on an annual basis. The tournament is open to players from all over Southern Africa, and we have even had overseas entries on occasion! The top placed player is declared the Kwa-Zulu Natal Open champion, and the top placed Natal domiciled player is then the Kwa-Zulu Natal Closed champion.

The event was customarily held over seven rounds using the Swiss system of pairings. From 2004 to 2016 the tournament was held as an eight round Swiss, with a slightly faster time control.

During the 1970's and 1980's fields of 120 or more players were frequently seen, with a record 179 entries in 1982, although this has dropped back to about 100 players in recent years. In some of those years the tournament was divided into multiple sections, on the basis of South African ratings.

After Durban Chess Club had organised the event for 50 years, it was taken over in 2017 by the KZN Chess Association. Both the 2017 and 2018 tournaments were FIDE rated and full details on recent KZN opens can be found on chess-results.

Detailed cross tables until 2016 have been added wherever possible.
An asterisk indicates that only partial results are available.

1956 KF Kirby M Kolnik
1967* GG Boulle GG Boulle
1968 GG Boulle GG Boulle
1969 GG Boulle GG Boulle
1970 M Kolnik M Kolnik
1971 KV Grivainis GG Boulle
1972 DA Walker DA Walker
1973 GR Holmes M Kolnik
1974 T Gannholm GG Boulle
1975 DT Morschel M Kolnik
1976 F Korostenski GG Boulle
1977 KF Rust KF Rust
1978 C Pritchett PC Abbott
1979 MC Rubery GG Boulle
1980 JE van den Berg JE van den Berg
1981 P Kunne AD Muscat
1982 DA Walker KF Rust
1983 DA Walker KF Rust
1984 D Wolf KF Rust
1985 MC Rubery KF Rust
1986 M Levitt KF Rust
1987* CCA de Villiers CCA de Villiers
1988 MC Rubery CCA de Villiers
1989 M O'Sullivan CCA de Villiers & KF Rust
1990 MC Rubery KF Rust
1991 M Levitt AM Bouchier
1992 MC Rubery KF Rust
1993 G Michelakis KF Rust
1994 GC Meyer KF Rust
1995 G Wall KF Rust
1996 M Levitt A Paraskevopoulos
1997* MC Rubery R Banai
1998 R Banai R Banai
1999** MC Rubery P van Rensburg
2000* A Simutowe PA Dankelmann
2001 DS Mhlongo DS Mhlongo
2002** AD Choko AD Choko
2003* J Nyirenda KF Rust
2004 PA Dankelmann PA Dankelmann
2005 SV Choko KF Rust
2006 KF Rust KF Rust
2007 CT Danisa CT Danisa
2008 D Cawdery P Ramsurrup
2009 S Masango KF Rust
2010 S Masango E Takawira
2011 J Mabusela E Takawira
2012 SV Choko E Takawira
2013 E Takawira E Takawira
2014 B Mgobhozi B Mgobhozi
2015 J Mwale J Mwale
2016 J Mabusela W Khanyile
2017 J Mwale J Mwale
2018 R Makoto HN Oliver
2019 L Xulu L Xulu
2020 Cancelled due to Covid-19
2021 Cancelled due to Covid-19
2022 N Zwakala N Zwakala
2023 C Klaver M Ngcongo

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