Going into the last round of the 2007 African Chess Championships, six spots hang in the balance as the tournament has been one of intrigue. IM Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe has continue to hold the lead at 6-1 after winning his first five games. However, three consecutive draws have allowed other players to challenge for the lead.

Egyptian players had taken several early losses, including
GM Ahmed Adly who lost his first two games. However, the continental champions came roaring back and have four players in the top six going into the finale.  The have the most players represented at the tournament with 12 (nine men, three women).

GM-elect Amon Simutowe
has run into problem in the middle portion of the tournament, losing to Gwaze in a fantastic game and the to an unheralded player from South Africa, Henry Steel.

Safari Court Hotel, site of tournament

The last round of the men's competition has a few interesting scenarios. In losing his first two games, Adly has had to climb back into contention primarily by beating much weaker players. Thus, his tiebreaks stand poorly amongst those on 6-3. He faces an in-form Pedro-Aderito in the last round and if he loses, then others would mostly likely have better tiebreaks. Adly must get at least a draw to qualify to fend off a pack of nine players with 5-3 including Simutowe.

For any remote chances,
Simutowe has to win. There would need to be a number of decisive games on the top four boards and a number of draws on the next four boards for him to have a chance. After today, Simutowe has played in six tournaments in two months, a combined 53 rounds of chess at a high level! Such is a recipe for fatigue and hopefully, Simutowe can take a rest to reflect on this experience and his GM accomplishment.

Finally, a GM norm will go to the clear winner of the tournament. Gwaze needs only a draw to clinch the championship and the norm. His superior tiebreaks will give him the edge.
Essam El-Gindy may not agree to a quick draw with Gwaze, who will qualify even if he loses. A loss by Gwaze and he will still qualify for the FIDE World Cup.

The women's competition also has some uncertainty. WIMs
Mona Khaled and Anzel Solomons have secured the first two spots. Khaled has won five in a row and is on 7/8 while Solomons has given up a few draws and is on 6/8. Khaled is in a tough situation because she would need to win against compatriot WIM Sohair-Basta to secure first place. If she draws, then Solomons (who has beaten Khaled) can surpass her on tiebreaks if she wins. Solomons has the better pairing as she plays Namibian Stephen Swartz.

Namibian Chess Federation

Results from chess-results.com (Men, Women)

Coverage (Main, Drum Blog)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 9 September 2007

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