9th All-Africa Games: Give us your Reflections!



This post is to entertain reflective comments from those who attended the 9th All-Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria. We want to hear about your experiences and observations. Tell us about the atmosphere and perhaps about the conditions there. If you have personal stories or if you know of any stories with humour, intrigue, inspiration, or historic importance, please post them. If you want to write about African chess parties 🙂 or side blitz tournaments, please do so. We want to hear about friendly rivalries and also the play-by-play excitement leading up to the last round.

If you would like to share pictures, I can post them if you send them to webmaster@thechessdrum.net. I am planning to build a collage of photos in the “Historic Moments” section of the main Drum site. Also if you have games, I’d like to put some of them on this blog or even some key positions. Let’s show the world what excitement Africa brings to the world chess community!


  1. Well, so the All Africa games are over now.The performance of the teams was brilliant. I did not travel with the team but I followed the games all the way. The contest was tight. We all knew that Egypt would carry the day but for the second position Zambia had been the favorites though South Africa was right on Zambia’s tail. Any slight mistake by one team would see either of the teams taking second place.
    Well Zambia erred and South Africa took second place leading by half a point.
    My views of this tournament is that more countries should participate and in future we would like to see more women participate in this tournament. This is one of the biggest events in African chess and chess bodies should give it the seriousness it deserves.
    But on the overall performance of the teams, according to the teams that travelled, the strengh of the players has improved tremendously.

    Big up to all the medalists

  2. Response to the Drum List below:
    ” I have not received any reflections on the blog from African players who attended the All-Africa Games. It tells me one of two things (1) the experience was so bad, that it would rather be forgotten or (2) there is no passion about sharing games and photos.

    I have noticed a steady decline in chess coverage in Africa and this trend is troubling. Apart from Botswana’s Kenneth Boikhutswane, there is not much African chess news. Allafrica.com carries some reports and fortunately, there are a few websites and blogs emerging, but otherwise it is hard to find reports from African tournaments. There has to be more effort in marketing African chess to the public, or no one will know that African chess exists.”

    Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

    “To the above Chess drum flash, I disagree with the first assumption and somewhat agree with the second.

    I don’t think it’s because of a bad experience of any sort that the players may or may not have had at the Africa games that they are not sharing but rather lack of passion for sharing.

    As someone who edits a chess website, I have been faced with these kinds of disappointments in African chess players not responding to requests by chess journalist/players combo of our kind. I have thought a lot about this and have come to the conclusion that it may be because of priority of life:

    1. Just what is the immediate priority of the African Chess player? Is it sharing their chess experiences or some other cares of life that may be deterring them from responding the way we would want them to?

    2. Secondly, have we offered them something in return for these favors that we often take for granted? If not, do we have plans to reward chess player/Journalist who contribute major articles (not a mere statement) to our websites? Sometimes we have to do these things to get results that are hard to obtain. We know there were many chess playing nations at the All Africa Games. You will think some of their chess players will be out to giving their views of the chess tournament. How about the winners? Won’t they want their stories told?

    3. And yet another thing is the fact that we may not be reaching everyone we need to reach in terms of coverage. Do we have an exhaustive list (contacts) of those who participated at the All Africa Games and have we contacted them personally to give us their side of the story? I know I haven’t but I think we should. Until we do that, we want to give them the benefit of doubt, at least for now.

  3. You’re right. We all have higher priorities than chess, but to have NO news coming from all the players and officials is strange. I do believe the passion is there for many African players, but many may not see public relations as part of the exuding this passion. It is a very important part if African federations are attempting to attract sponsorship and support.

    We constantly ask why Africa has so few GMs (none in the Sub-Saharan region). Are Africans smart enough? No doubt about it! Is the passion there? I believe it is for many players. Are the resources there? That may be a problem. Is communication and Internet access an issue? Maybe. In my opinion, public relations plays a big role in how sponsors perceive chess activities.

    If the passion exists, it can be a motivating factor. That outward show of passion may motivate sponsors and others who may help. Where does the passion come from? Sometimes it is from the top-down (federation to players); other times, it is bottom-up (players to federation). African has passion for a lot of things, including chess, but perhaps there is not a passion for reporting on chess.

    Few African federations have websites or blogs. There needs to be a better public relations effort for African Chess or no one will care… not the sponsors, not the news agencies… and maybe not even FIDE! In an essay I wrote last year titled, “Can Pan-Africanism work in Chess?” I mention a few ideas…

    • each federation would have a functional website (no matter how basic)
    • each zone would have a website with pertinent news, announcements and updates
    • each of the zonal websites would include links of federation websites within the zone
    • each zone will have a chess correspondent to feed information to website
    • zonal websites will exist as part of a “web ring” supporting the others
    • zones can make the use the of blogs and discussion boards for timely discussions

    This is a bit ambitious, but having an information infrastructure for chess is vital to the development of the players and their federations. It provides an accessible resource for sponsors and others to see the activities and it makes African federations a more integral part of the chess community. I have even found a site http://www.arabfide.com that includes a top 40 list of Arab players (most African). Before I launched The Chess Drum in 2001, the only place I saw African news was kasparovchess.com!! Amazing!

  4. I must say that I totally agree with your sentiments. I must say at this point that I think the reason why most players are not communicating is due to lack of total access to the internet. Here in Sub Sahara,internet is not something you will expect to find in a house. It is expensive to communicate via internet in some places so you find that when one gets access,the first thing is to read the emails and reply, if the money is enough to start giving your story,then you will post your story on the net,but generally,thats my overview. I must state however that it is more expensive when one does not communicate as people wont know when to help.But Iwill try to keep you posted with what is happening in Zambia.Your ideas are great

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