IM Watu Kobese started poorly when he was upset by South African Donovan Van den Heever and Daniel Jere in rounds one and three, but made a run and was able to sprint into a tie for the 5th and final spot on 6-3. Kobese triumphed over IM Fouad El Taher (Egypt) in a tense play-off for the fifth qualifying position and will make his 4th trip to a World Championship tournament. FIDE invoked a rule which stated that Africa would only receive five spots in the FIDE World Cup instead of six because Moroccan Grandmaster Hichem Hamdouchi earned a spot at the 4.1 zonal tournament. Zonal President Lewis Ncube told The Chess Drum:Congratulations to the new African Champions!
"The qualifiers were reduced from SIX to FIVE by the Continental Presidents on account that GM Hamdouchi qualified through the Zone 4.1 Zonal. A lot of players were unhappy with this development since at previous Continental meetings it was decided that the Continental Championships would provide all SIX qualifiers."
Ncube stated that he plans to investigate the matter.
Ignatius Njobvu had a strong showing and earns the FM title exceeding the requirement by one point. The Botswana champion held defending champion El-Gindy of Egypt and defeated IM Kenny Solomon of South Africa enroute to his +2 score on 5½-3½. Botswana had a double triumph when the nation's women's champion Tuduetso Sabure rebounded from consecutive losses to win her last two games and thus, the women's continental championship.
Sabure was aided by her teammate Tshepiso Lopang who beat Egypt's Sohir Busta of Egypt in the last round. The Botswana star will earn the WIM title with her continental victory. The four South Africans were hurt in the last round since they were paired against each other. Both games ended in quick draws. The issue of players from the same federation being paired in the last two rounds was subject to a fierce debate in open section.
Denis Frick finished 3rd on 6-3 while her compatriot Anzèl Laubscher ended on 5½-3½ along with Lopang and Zambian Cindy Simango. According to a Botswana source last month, Sabure had said that she would not travel to Zambia due to study commitments and her approaching exams at the University of Botswana (UB) where she is a nursing student. She had a change of mind and it turned out to be a good decision. In a prophetic article written last month by Monkagedi Gaotlobogwe in Botswana's Mmegi Sport, the writer stated:
"Over the last five years, Tuduetso Sabure's chess has been maturing steadily like wine. Botswana number top female chess player has risen to the apex through a combination of natural talent and hard work. She may not have attained prestigious international chess rankings, but looking at her growing success, it might just be a matter of time before she gets a title." (Read article here).