The Rising Stars of Africa

Africa has long produced strong players, but lack of exposure and training resources prevented many from reaching their full potential. Manuel Mateus and Pedro Aderito of Angola earned their IM titles at a young age, but their talents have gone largely unnoticed. IM Watu Kobese has also struggled to find avenues for training and exposure. The three listed players below are special in a sense that they are immensely talented… rough-hewn diamonds in need of polishing. Hopefully, they will continue to work hard in an effort to realize their respective potential and become Grandmasters of tomorrow!


Name: IM Amon Simutowe
Country: Zambia
FIDE Rating: 2424
Age: 21

Amon is an extremely talented player. After his meteoric rise in 2000, he has slowed considerably after becoming a university student at the University of Texas at Dallas (USA). The holder of two GM norms, he has a bold style and takes tremendous risks in double-edged positions. The “Zambezi Shark” has been praised by many strong players on the international circuit. The main question is whether he will get the training to realize his immense talents.


Name: IM Robert Gwaze
Country: Zimbabwe
FIDE Rating: 2340
Age: 21

A whirlwind of action and bursting with talent, Gwaze is arguably the most exciting player in sub-Saharan Africa. His 9-0 score at the Bled Olympiad won the gold medal and caused the chess world to take notice. The two-time African Junior Champion appears to relish complications, is deadly on the attack and is full of determination. The well-spoken young man recently competed in the British Championship and is seeking other strong tournaments.


Name: FM Kenny Solomon
Country: South Africa
FIDE Rating: 2339
Age: 23

Solomon has nerves of steel and can be characterized as being as a fiercely relentless player. A Sveshnikov loyalist, he relishes active piece play and thrives on wresting the initiative away from his opponent. One trademark of Solomon is his ability to go the full seven hours. At the Wilbert Paige Memorial, his nine games averaged 62 moves! Kenny will reveal his talents at the upcoming African Championships as the South African Closed Champion.


Selected Games

IM Amon Simutowe
Zambia Zambia Zambia

IM Georgiy Kasteneida-Simutowe, 0-1
GM Leonid Yudasin-Simutowe, ½-½
GM Pavel Blatny-Simutowe, 0-1
Simutowe-FM Ronald Simpson, 1-0
Simutowe-GM Jaan Ehlvest, 1-0

IM Robert Gwaze
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Gwaze-GM Mihail Marin, ½-½
Mekitew Molla-Gwaze, 0-1
Gwaze-IM David Gluckman, 1-0
GM Matthew Turner-Gwaze, ½-½
Gwaze-GM Colin McNab, 1-0

FM Kenny Solomon
South Africa South Africa South Africa

Solomon-GM Jouni Yrjola, ½-½
NM Vangiel Adhami-Solomon, 0-1
IM Amon Simutowe-Solomon, 0-1
FM Norman Rogers-Solomon, 0-1
IM Watu Kobese-Solomon, ½-½

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button