Congratulations 2007 African Champions!

IM Robert Gwaze (Zimbabwe) and WIM Mona Khaled (Egypt) are crowned as the 2007 African Champions in Winhoek, Namibia. FIDE Vice-President Lewis Ncube offers official congratulations. Photo courtesy of Namibian Chess Federation.

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  1. Gwaze crowned new African chess champ
    (Zimbabwe Herald, 12 September 2007)

    From Confidence Musariri in WINDHOEK, Namibia

    ZIMBABWE’S International Master Robert Gwaze was crowned the new African Individual Chess Champion on Monday night after emerging undefeated in the 10-day tournament.

    Gwaze (25) will now represent Africa at the World Chess Championship in Russia in November.

    He beat 50 other top African players including Egyptian Grand Masters Slim Belkhodja, Amin Bassem and Ahmed Adly, among others.

    He is now rated top GM norm, and will become a Grand Master if he wins his next competitive tournament.

    “This is the toughest tournament in Africa I have ever played. The victory is for my country, my teammates and my future,” said Gwaze, who received a cash prize of US$6 000.

    Gwaze was seeded number eight at the beginning of the African Individual Championships but turned the tables with some well-times displays that saw him win the hearts of other players.

    “He is the best that has come out of the best. I wish him luck in Russia,” said Angolan Aderito Pedro, who came second.

    Dethroned defending champion Adly came fifth and blamed his loss on a severe illness that struck him on the first day of the tournament.

    Nicknamed “Chimurenga,” Gwaze is now based in Malaysia and said he had never played competitive chess in the past two years.

    Zambia-based World Chess Federation vice president Lewis Ncube praised Gwaze and said he would do whatever it takes for the Zimbabwean corporate sector to realise that they have a star in the making and support him.

    “He needs funds to attend events and right now, Gwaze does not have sponsorship. He came to this tournament on his own.

    “It’s an African Chess problem. Some players travelled by bus from their countries while Namibia failed to host its own players in a hotel. I want Gwaze to have the best so that he beats the best.”

    Gwaze travelled to Namibia at his own expense and arrived in Windhoek after a three-day road trip with other teammates Kudzanai Mamombe, who came 35th, and Farai Mandizha, who came 19th.

  2. Again, what Musariri wrote above here is in line with what we have been saying all along. The treatment that most of our African Chess players receive from those who are supposed to be in charge of their welfare (chess career/sponsorship to tournaments if you will, etc) is very poor. In fact this epidemic should become a subject of open discussion /investigations among chess commentators. In spite of the circumstances and the shoddy treatment that players find themselves, some are still able to rise to the top but not too many of them do make it. Can you then imagine what would have happened if the opposite were to be true. I think we need to devote some time in the future to this endemic problem.

  3. Gwaze Closer to Grandmaster Status
    The Zimbabwean Herald (19 September 2007)

    From Augustine Hwata of HARARE, Zimbabwe

    Chess International master Robert Gwaze is now aiming to become Zimbabwe’s first ever grandmaster following his sensational win at the African Individual Chess Championship in Namibia last week.

    The 2007 All-Africa Games silver medallist is now just one major championship win away from being crowned a grandmaster. For now, the 25-year-old is an international master but he is focusing on earning the prestigious title of grandmaster when he takes part at the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus in November. “The win in Namibia gave me my second grandmasters norm and if I manage to get a third norm, then I became a full grandmaster. “At the moment I have 2 413 points and need to reach 2 500 on the next championship so that I qualify to be a grandmaster.

    “This will be my first time playing at the World Championship although it is the second time I have qualified but I failed to travel in 1998. “It’s going to be tough but if I play well in Minsk, I can be able to achieve the points to be a grandmaster,” said Gwaze. Gwaze won his first grandmaster norm when he was crowned the African Junior Champion in 1998 and in 2000 he made history by becoming the youngest and first black African to win a gold medal at the International Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia.

    Last week, he became a top-rated GM norm when he won in Namibia. The former Kundai Primary and Prince Edward High School pupil is cherishing the championship he won in Namibia than any of his other successes. “I rate the win in Namibia at the African Individual Championship as my best achievement in chess so far. “This is because there were four grandmasters – Bassem Amin and Ahmed Adly of Egypt, Slim Belkhodja of Tunisia and Amon Simutowe of Zambia. “There were also 16 international masters like me but I managed to win the competition,” he said.

    A local chess administrator, Emmanuel Mabwe, was full of praise for Gwaze following his recent win at the tournament which featured 100 players, including nine other Zimbabweans. “This young man is really talented and I am not surprised that he is now a continental champion. “I have seen good players from Zimbabwe but personally I think Gwaze is the best. “The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that chess is a minority sport and we are failing to get corporate sponsorship to hold as many competitions. “There is also need to help the players with some subsistence in their travels and right now I can say Gwaze needs help to travel to Minsk,” said Mabwe.

    Gwaze started playing chess seriously at the age of nine and at 15, he won the national junior champion as well as the national championship. He has also taught chess in England and Malaysia.

  4. Hi Robert. Met your coleague Elijah and he told me to go and suf the net for you. Its a bloody good thing you won the all-African-competition last year. Its difficult to comprehend anyone else actually sharper than some of our Zimbabweans.
    I am Nirmal Chouhan and just assisting Elijah in educating the kids at Westridge primary school. I also assist at the high school but unfortunatelly they are no games going on.

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