Uganda’s Kawuma scores 9/10!

Moses Kawuma (near right) playing against British Virgin Island’s Christopher Art. Kawuma scored 9/10 for the highest winning percentage in the open section. Steven Kawuma plays the legendary Bill Hook. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Moses Kawuma (near right) playing against British Virgin Island’s Christopher Art. Kawuma scored 9/10 for the highest winning percentage in the open section. Steven Kawuma plays the legendary Bill Hook. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Kawuma performance sparkles, but not golden

Moses Kawuma and brother Steven came to the Olympiad with high hopes. Those hopes were dashed at the outset when visa troubles caused the Ugandan team to forfeit two boards for nearly the entire tournament. Harold Wanyama made an impassioned appeal to the organizing committee to send documentation for visa. Those answers were untimely. Shadrack Kantinti showed up in the 10th round and won his last two games.

Despite the constant forfeits, both Kawuma brothers made a valiant stand (as did Zambia) to hold the two boards. Moses ended the tournament on 9/10 which constituted the highest winning percentage in the open section. Martha Fierro scored 93.8% for Ecuador in the women’s section. This year, medals were awarded on the basis of performance rating which rewards players for the strength of their competition. In a sense, it is biased toward those playing on the strongest teams.

This criteria seems to be counter to the Olympiad spirit. You have an individual in Kawuma who scores 9/10 and gets no recognition for his performance. Peter Leko of Hungary scored 7.5/10 with a high performance of 2833. One may argue that awards should be given to those who scored well against the strongest field, but these results are not out of the ordinary for strong GMs. It is even possible to have a mediocre score and have a high performance rating. Peter Svidler had 4.5/9 and a 2651 performance.

IM Robert Gwaze after his sparkling 9-0 performance at the 2002 Bled Olympiad.

Hypothetically, what about an unknown player from Maldives, Comoros or Equatorial Guinea who scores 11/11?? They get nothing and we may not remember their performance in coming years. However, most will remember Robert Gwaze’s 9/9 performance in the 2002 Bled Olympiad. These awards may represent a total celebration of chess and its universal appeal. Certainly Leko is a great player, but what residual benefits does chess get as a result of him winning that medal? Probably zero. What would the medal have done for Kawuma, Uganda, Africa and the universal appeal of chess? Probably quite a bit.

It is understood that the rule change was designed to prevent players from “stacking boards” or having their strongest player on the lower boards to win a medal, but even if a weaker federation has their boards in the right order, there is still no chance to win a medal based on performance since they will not play the strongest competition. In addition, board stacking in general doesn’t work. Alexander Morozevich of Russia is rated 2787 on board #4 and yet he could only muster 6/9.

It appears as if there should be separate awards for categories (as it is for team results), or to use another criteria. In the premier team tournament which prides itself on “Gens Uma Suna,” the current format does not appear to be inclusive of the effort and results of smaller federations.

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.

31 Comments

  1. Great score 9/10 and no recognition! Theses people are hard to believe, well, its nice to see African chess players rising to the highest levels in chess.

  2. Daaim – I agree with you that not giving prizes for top board scores is inconsistent with the spirit of the Olympiad. Why not give awards for “Top board 2 performance rating” and for “Top board 2 score” ?

  3. Its sad that wen someone gets those many points they are not recognized. There shud be different categories for different kind of winners. just like they give different zone winners at the olympiads otherwise motivation will be low for countries such as Uganda.
    In addition we(Uganda team) hope to be there in numbers come the next olympiad.

  4. You make an interesting point. Two different prizes, one for rating and one for percentage, would indeed be better.

  5. I strongly think a petition (signed by all) should be written to fide to revert their decision of awarding medals at the Olympiad based on performance and not based on percentage, because it would not help develop chess in Africa instead it would kill it. This system only favors strong Teams. Consider someone that is a IM playing for a country where his other team mates are very weak. even if he ends up with a perfect score, he would not get a medal.
    Africa has very few chess tournaments where one can get norms as compared to other part of the world. why take part in an Olympiad when even after scoring a perfect score you cannot get a medal. It has totally killed the spirit of the chess Olympiad.
    I predict Most African Team would not want to participate in the next Olympiad and the turn out at the event would be low.
    Instead I would suggest to Fide to make the Chess Olympiad an Open Swiss format tournament, while still awarding medals to individual board and adding up the scores of each player in the Team to award Team medal. The top winners can also be selected for the World chess cup .That way would be a fairer option because it would not give room for team to field their strong players in lower board , This would give everyone a fair chance to meet GMs,IMs etc and increase the possibilities of acquiring norms and titles. I rest my case

  6. James Ssekandi, “Kawuma is New Hampshire winner,” Monitor Daily, December 4, 2008 (Kampala, Uganda).

    UK-based Chess master Moses Kawuma followed up his great Olympiad performance by winning the Silver Rook trophy in the New Hampshire county champion.

    Kawuma defeated Joe Coburn, Dominic Tunke, Michael Yeo, Richard McMaster and his brother FIDE master Steven Kawuma, who won the Cup last year.

    Final Standings

    M. Kawuma – 5
    Gavin Lock – 5
    D.W. Fowler – 4
    S. Kawuma – 3.5
    M. Yeo – 3.5
    R. McMaster – 3

    See “Kawuma is New Hampshire winner

  7. :mrgreen: ASW are u serious u would want a perfomance rating of less than say 2200 to win a prize??That medal does not come with any Cash so why worry??

  8. Darren,

    I would rather Moses Kawuma to win a prize on 90% and 2139 TPR than say a Peter Svidler who got 50% on 2651 TPR. Yes… Svidler almost performed at 2700. Analogously, I will always prefer a student scoring 90% on a level 1 exam than a student who scores 50% on a level 2 (even level 4-5). Performance rating really isn’t significant in terms of the real issues… points scored. That’s how matches are determined. You don’t get more points in a match by beating someone higher rated. That’s the real flaw in this.

    Kawuma’s performance certainly meant more to Uganda’s performance (despite forfeiting two boards for nine matches) than Svidler’s meant to Russia. Granted Uganda is not a top team, but Russia had a 2750+ average rating, were favored to win gold and failed to medal for the 2nd Olympiad in a row. In fact, Svidler’s poor performance is the reason Russia DIDN’T medal.

  9. Choice is a matter of style Daaim.Daaim do you also realize a Svidler has to play well to achieve that perfomance??It could easily have been very low ,do the maths and find out what TPR he could get on 10 percent or so. Equalizing with black against a 2600+ player aint easy at all ,not mentioning a white win which in most cases requires a lot of preparation.Nyway I am glad FIDE has seen sense in my method and won’t be bothering themselves again with percentages that mean nothing.

  10. hi. so i’ve noticed and so did most of you you that a certain someone needs to look himself in the mirror. yes, darren live your life, i don’t remember the last time anyone heard of a darren participating in any tournament, albeit a pub championship. gracius.

  11. Right Darren, but remember Svidler (over 2700) is performing BELOW his expectations to score 50%. The main reason… he played poorly given his field. Yes… 2651 is strong performance rating if you are looking at it concretely, but at high performance rating doesn’t necesarily get you wins for your team… a 9/10 does. I’m not sure when the last time we saw a tournament prize determined by TPR as opposed to points and percentages. It’s actually pretty simple.

    (Note: Equalizing with black? Who wants to equalize? The rules and objectives of chess are the same for black and white. The notion that one must win with white and draw with black is antithetical to chess and I don’t buy it. Anand proved that against Kramnik, who hasn’t won a game with black in two years!)

  12. Daaim a 9/10 would not happen anyway if a team is medal material .Yes Svidler played below his rating but its still a decent result.In TEAM tournaments we have to consider TPR to guard against teams for board prizes .

    its difficult to play for a win as black if white is satisfied with a draw(there are many lines where white can go for a straight draw in most openings like Caro Kann ,French ,Petroff etc,)that is why you see few black wins in top level chess.In a strong players match situation ,u need to push for a win a white that is why black can get chances if you overreach.

  13. To that imposter calling himself “”darrenliveyourlifeporter”” ,Duppy know ah who fi frighten,friendship mi nuh buy,Jah kno star, weh dem ah try???Shell down di place if yuh waan step to me yeah.

  14. Darren,

    You are really not keeping up. Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia has had two such results in the last two Olympiad… 10/13 in Turin and 9/11 in Dresden (2869 TPR). Armenia won gold medals both times and certainly he deserved his honors based on his score. His wins contributed greatly to the success of the team… because he scored wins, not because he played strong players and had a mediocre score like Svidler. Even an 11/11 and 2750 TPR would get no board #1 medal in Dresden. Crazy.

    In Anand-Kramnik, the Russian didn’t overreach, he was simply crushed with black… two games in a row in the same line. Anand was not playing for a draw. In addition, Garry Kasparov had no problem winning with both colors. The Najdorf became a killing machine. Kramnik is the only “World Champion” who cannot win with black. Black has many fighting chances with aggressive lines they fight for the initiative, not a draw! It’s amazing how players (even strong ones) still believe in this myth that black is fighting for a draw.

  15. Daaim i quote you “not because he played strong players and had a mediocre score like Svidler” -u acknowledge Svidler played strong players and its difficult to win against strong players naturally let alone draw.

    “Anand was not playing for a draw”-i will quote Adolf Hitler on this one “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”

    Talk about Kasparov ,I am not sure u know one of the reasons why Moscow 1984-85 was halted at one point ,Draws and Draws .Kasparov also had problems when players went for a straight draw see Vallejo Pons v Kasparov 2004.06.10 and Azarov v Kasparov 2004.10.03 Identical games ,u cant tell me Azarov was playin for a win when he fully knew the game ends in a draw.

  16. You misread the statement. The “not because he played strong players and got mediocre results…” refers to Svidler, not Sargissian. It should have read grammatically, “… unlike Svidler who played strong players and got mediocre results.”

    Sarigissian got an 2869 TPR on 9/11, so he had to play strong players. The whole idea that it is somehow hard for Svidler to get draws with black against 2600s is absurb. He played poorly given his team needs and like Kramnik, he failed to win games. Kramnik got +1 and about 6-7 draws in Dresden. That’s a poor performance considering that a team event is about compiling points, so win percentage is more significant than TPR. That’s what the award should be based on.

    On Garry Kasparov, you’re cherry-picking a few games to demonstrate Kasparov played for black draws as a policy. Kramnik has a policy, Kasparov did not. He was one of the greatest fighters and fought to win with black throughout his career as did Bobby Fischer. That’s why they are the greatest players ever.

    BTW… Fischer got 15/17 at the 1966 Olympiad and only got board #1 silver. Tigran Petrosian got gold with 11½/13. A young untitled Rosendo Balinas (now GM and Filipino legend) got a silver medal on board #3 with 15½/20. Who remembers their TPRs? Probably nobody. Balinas no doubt played weaker opposition, but was rewarded for his play.

  17. Daaim i quote “”On Garry Kasparov, you’re cherry-picking a few games to demonstrate Kasparov played for black draws as a policy”” is a whole marathon match against Karpov a few games??

    In Fischer’s/Petrosian’s time computers weren’t so good ,he would not dream anything near that these days.

    If you think its easy to get draws on blackside of +2600s you are living on another planet.

  18. No… a marathon MATCH is not a few games, but drawing with black was not Kasparov’s policy as a player. It HAS been Kramnik’s policy his entire career and he has stated this on several occassions. For a 2700, getting draws with black against a 2600 is a statistical failure.

  19. UGANDA ENDS OLYMPIAD ON A HIGH
    By Vianney Luggya, 26/11/2008

    Uganda’s Moses Kawuma narrowly missed out on getting a medal at the 2008 World Chess Olympiad due to a change in rules but made history as he emerged the best individual performer based on points scored and percentage score.

    Kawuma ended the 11 rounds unbeated with 9 points out of 10 games played having won 8 games and drawn twice giving him a 90% score as per attached results sheet. Unfortunately for Kawuma, award of medals at this year’s Olympiad was unlike previously based on tournament performance rating as opposed to points scored. Using the tournament performance rating method implies that for one to win a board medal, they should have played agaisnt very strong highly rated opposition.

    With Uganda fielding only 2 players as opposed to 4 for most of the rounds, it meant that the maximum number of points that could be garnered was 2 in most of the games, which reduced the chances of being pitied against highly rated opposition while using the swiss format of play.

    In 1996 when Uganda won gold through Geofrey Makumbi on board six, the method used for award of medals which has since changed was based on points scored and percentage score. If that was still applicable, Kawuma would have definitely got gold on board five.

    Inspired by the late arrival of Shadrack Kantinti, Uganda went on to win the 11th and last round 3-1 against Liechtenstein yesterday. In that game, Kantinti beat Frick Renato on board two, Stephen Kawuma beat Guller Andras and Moses Kawuma beat Muendle Kurt.

    Uganda finished with a maximum points haul of 20.5 points. Armenia won the event with 31 points.

    Based on individual performance and percentage, Uganda’s other player Stephen Kawuma finished in 24th position with 7.5 points out of 9 games played. Kantinti played only two games and won both. The Uganda Chess Federation is proud of the boys’ brave performance that has made the country proud inspite of the hardships that were experienced by the rest of the team in relation to failure to secure visas and a belated issuance for Kantinti.

    Source: Uganda Chess Federation

  20. Dear all
    I am impressed by the dialogue especially when there is a difference of opinion. This site is quickly becoming a great source of notable and finger-tip chess info.

    Guys, I am privy to how corrupt some elements and operations within Fide is. The skulduggery in overt in many instances and we all are to be ashamed of this for we ignore the human reaction of condemnation, or at worst speak out! It is my opinion that we tend to blog about some irrelevant matters and some that are dilusion of grandeur. For instance who wants to argue the value of Svidler’s perfomance rating versus a deserving African board medal? The incumbent top GM would not want an accolade deserving to an African. He is a lovely human being who when I had a chat to “wish Africa can produce top GM’s”. By the way he loves cricket and astonished me with the deep knowledge of the game!

    The problem is Fide officials and especially Africans in that body serving their personal interests. From the head of a federation who see the excursion as an overseas trip to top ranking so called Continental presidents and Vice-Fide Presidents. Why did they allow this nonsensicaL DECISION pass without veto? someone correctly assessed that Africa will no longer see the need to partake in future Olympiads! this will be sad.

    I am very disapointed that Zambia (ZCF) did not plan a final push for Amon to obtain his GM tittle.
    Hope to hear from others on these matters!

  21. Jackie,

    I wish it were trivial. The issue is not about Peter Svidler, what he feels about Africans, or how nice he is. It is about the issue of performance rating vs. winning percentage as a criteria for medals. Performance ratings were used in Dresden for the first time in many Olympiads. My point was that performance ratings are not reliable indicators of performance and Svidler is a case in point.

    I will not speculate on whether African officials saw their trip as a junket. I believe Lewis Ncube and Dabilani Buthali have good intentions, but I wonder if they understand how to navigate FIDE politics well enough. Who does? For the African federations to be struggling to get visas is a travesty. The Ugandan case was particularly disturbing since an impassioned appeal was made by Harold Wanayama who was at the German Embassy. He never made it, but Shadrack Kantinti got to Dresden in round 10. I was saddened, but I greeted Shadrack warmly as he was seated for his first match in round 10.

    Some of these issues have to be addressed at the federation level and many are young (i.e., Ghana, Malawi, Gabon, Liberia). Even the more established federations in Africa need support. However, the FIDE attitude toward African federations has been less than inclusive. Many of the changes seen in the Dresden Olympiad were favorable to the professional players and to the strongest federations. FM Sunil Weeramantry (Hikaru Nakamura’s stepfather) told me that Sri Lanka got their visas approved only the day before leaving for Dresden. This is the Olympiad… does “Gens Una Sumus” apply?

    Shadrack Kantinti (Uganda)

    Shadrack Kantinti (Uganda)

  22. Greetings brothers it seems theses different organizations arent interested in the african chess so perhaps this gives us the best time to strike.Im not sure which african brother had the chance to beat Svidler but they have this chessbase program with a lot of his games there, so its fairly easy to prepare and induce him into dubious lines when he has white to crush him! They have this white is winning attitude which is a clear weakness that can be used against them, also, their organizations gave them big ratings to protect so we as “little people” can steer towards equal positions and watch them disintergrate inside their own european superiority complex.Ive seen this guy nige short blunder whole rooks in tournaments with that kinda attitude.I just read on chessbase something happened to Ivanchuck and he walked away from one of their test they setup for him with the “im white and right mentallity.” So theres a glaring weakness which we can expose during games with them regardless of titles and ratings they have been given by their federations.I believe in Obama and he advocates moving forward and not dwelling on past injustices although they do have to be addressed,McCain tried some of theses “white tricks” during his campain and the young americans (under30) are no longer falling for theses ancient ideas so it seems America is good and we as human race progess. Peace.

  23. Hi Everyone,

    As one of the fathers of Botswana Chess and a Zonal President of Southern Africa and then later the International Director of the ECF I do feel qualified to make an opinion. Firstly it is asking a lot of a chess federation in western europe to guarantee visas for everyone. At the moment western europe is a bit of a fortress trying to keep out people and their respective governments are not going to make exceptions for chess. In the UK our foreign Minister when on a visit to South Africa and talking on the Zimbabwe issue quoted that the UK had 700,000 zimbabweans in the UK. That is a seriously large figure when you think how far apart the two countries are. It has also skewed the issues for visas for all Africans coming to Europe. Also from the African Federation point of view I only hope that the respective Federations planned very well in advance for visas because what I heard on the ground was that some applied only in the month before the Olympiad. If this was the case then lets not blame the Germans. I do think that there is a case for two sets of board prizes as winning a board prize is very important for chess development. I will certainly be using my powers and contacts to argue for this. Also no one understands how diffiucult it is for a small federation then Nigel Freeman. What Nigel wants more then anyone is for Federations to be seen to help themselves. I am too saddened when a Federation says that it cant even pay an annual fee to FIDE or to be able to organise its team to an Olympiad. Lets be better then everyone else. Rupert

  24. Well ok rupert theses things u speak of are also of the past , so we would like people to know that our African brothers are seeking international justice right across the board. It seems when it comes to us there are many excuses in place.We are in the process of change,our ideas, thoughts and concerns will be handed in wrirting to President Obama himself in order to rectify some of theses unfair acts.Know that we are not merely here to blog for the sole purpose of blogging. We seek equal rights both on and off the chess board and are no longer interested in the eurocentric perspective of chess it hasnt done our African people any good, particularly with white moving firsr every game, this will be the first injustice we will deal with, and if they wanna play chess they can line as many eurocentric thinking individuals as they like.

  25. Rupert,

    Sorry we didn’t get a chance to chat in Dresden.

    The Director’s numbers appear to be inflated. I suppose his point is that many get in illegally… on an island? How do they manage that if they are not allowed in? OK… some overstay, but 700,000? However, the point is not really pertinent here. I agree… the UK (especially London) is already too crowded. A colonialist past certainly has a price.

    Tell me this… what will England do for the 2012 Olympics? Will they screen the African delegations and say that certain athletes cannot compete because they do not have incomes? This is what happened in the chess visa cases including to a Botswana arbiter and some of the Ethiopians. Ethiopian women’s team was denied because their names were inadvertently left off the organizer’s invitation letter. The FIDE letter did not suffice. It appears that the FIDE Olympiad is not perceived as a credible event so embassies feel they can deny one player and then grant others visas.

    You were wondering whether African nations applied in advance. I have understood that there were a few cases impacted by tardiness. Uganda had problems from the beginning and then after scrambling to find sponsorship, they were told they would not be allowed participate in the Olympiad by FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman. After overcoming that hurdle, Harold Wanyama made another impassioned appeal via ChessBase.

    HELP

    Dear ChessBase, I am Wanyama Harold, a Ugandan chess national player supposed to represent Uganda at the Olympiad. I once wrote an article for ChessBase about our trip to Germany. Well, this time we are stuck in Uganda as we cannot get our visas. This is because the organisers of the Olympiad have failed to send the Germany Embassy in Uganda a letter inviting us. I am told the officials are not responding as quickly as possible, and time is running out, as we have missed three games as I write this. I am appealing to you to help us to get the attention of the officials to work as quickly as possible, as you carry some weight in the chess circles.

    It’s interesting he started his message with the word “HELP”. According to Wanyama, the plea went unanswered for 4-5 days. Moses Kawuma then pressed the issue in Dresden and the organizers finally sent the papers. Shadrack Kantinti made it by round 10. Sad.

    In many cases, federations were asked for all sorts of documentation… letters from organizers, letters from FIDE, letters from home federation, letters from employers, letters from their relatives, etc. Sometimes the organizer’s letter was not enough. The embassies would also ask from guarantees that players will return.

    In addition, these federations were told they couldn’t play unless they paid FIDE dues and at the same time, they are trying to find sponsors for tickets. You know better than I do that raising funds for African chess is not easy. You have to have a ticket before the visa, but you cannot get a ticket without the funds. Then you are sent a terse letter advising the organizers to cancel accommodations. Then you have to suddenly shift gears. If your accommodations are cancelled then you have to raise more money. So you’re making constant decisions based on one condition or another. It’s ridiculous! There is no civility in this process.

    Even if these federations applied three months in advance, what would be different in these cases? Honestly. There is still the distrust and suspicion that Africans are going to defect or seek some type of asylum. You started your statement with this notion and that is the crux of the issue. FIDE has done a poor job of legitimizing chess as a universal sport. There is so much focus on European chess that embassies may not accept the notion that African nations play! How would the world know except from The Chess Drum and a handful of sites?

  26. We should definitely begin having Olympiad more frequently in developing nations in order to promote chess in other regions. The bid should be held on a rotational process so that we don’t have 4-5 consecutive Olympiad in the same region. The Olympiad held in developing nations have all been excellent without some of the other issues associated with discriminatory visa policies. I believe places like China, UAE, South Africa and Brasil are capable. Turkey is hosting in 2012 and it should be a wonderful event. Ali Nihat Yacizi has done wonders for chess in Turkey.

  27. Hi Daaim (I am not sure which comments section this belongs in),

    Many thanks for pointing me in the right direction. It would have been good to talk more with you as I think your website is excellent and one of the few places that connects African countries together. Yes this is what I could not find. I was at a family birthday party when writing the above so it sort of got cut short.

    Re 2012 the Olympics is just so much bigger and comes with complete government support; and is certainly one of the conditions of winning the bid. I dont think it can be compared to chess. The other thing to note is that I organised Botswana’s participation in 5 olympiads so I know how difficult visa issues are, and things were easier 10 years ago. All I know is that it took me the best of of a year to organise everything from a team selection process to organising the airtickets, budgets to the sports council, leave permission from employees for players and booking the airline tickets. Sometimes even helping players get passports.

    I also find the fortress Europe thing very unsettling; In my non chess life my work brings me into contact with a lot of southern africa migrants a lot of them in very long term fights against the establishment who are trying to deport them and it is very nasty.

    Also in defence of Nigel Freeman. I wrote the minutes for the CACDEC meeting where Campo in response to one Federation asking for clemency re fees talked on about the hard work needed to get a federation established and he used his own example from the Phillipines in the 1950s and 60’s. Nigel was just repeating this in the African meeting though he will no doubt write his own response. All that i want to say is the Nigel is on the small countries side; he knows what the problems are like and this is why he does sometimes come over as playing hard ball esp on the subject of annual fees. Personally I dont think it is beyond any Federation to pay 400 euros a year esp as this all comes back and more in assistance. Each Federation should have a Committee charge membership fees organise a few tournaments and charge entry fees, as well as get a schools programme going. Also if you get schools going they then also join and pay subs and later on purchase things like chess sets etc.

    Have to go. However there is more debate to come esp on the issue of bad rules; I was next door to the Gabon incident (and let us not forget Malawi) in the last round and I thought that it very nearly brought our sport into disrepute. The zeo time allowance for turning up has to be fought. And on the positve side players finally won back a decent time schedule and I think the no draw offer rule also worked well.

    Rupert

  28. Rupert,

    I’m glad you found it. The “Recent Comments” pushed the later comments down quickly so it vanished fairly quickly. I may increase it.

    I’m not so much comparing the magnitude of the Olympiad with the magnitude of the Olympics. I am questioning the visa process for each and I’m sure there must be differences, but why? They are in effect identical activities with identical purposes. Albeit, the Olympics has many disciplines and the Olympiad has one. However, the Olympics are able to have entire delegations approved and the Olympiad does not. Why can’t FIDE do the same? I know the answer. Chess is not widely-regarded and FIDE has done little in marketing and public relations. Smaller nations are often left to figure out things for themselves with little assistance.

    Nigel Freeman has written a lengthy response and I will address him respectfully. However, I believe FIDE has to bear some of the responsibililty for some of these cases.

    I’m not sure you are aware of all the visa issues, but not all are because federations applied a week in advance of the games. Even so, if an embassy is willing to go through with the visa process and the organizing committee ignores pleas to send documentation, this is unexcusable. Uganda’s plea was not acted upon for 4-5 rounds and of course Shadrack Kantinti played his first game in round #10. Ghana had a similar situation and they applied months in advance. John Hasford pleaded with the organizer until a visa was granted and he arrived in round #6. All this talk about being on time is well-taken, but there were situations that were handled poorly and FIDE/Dresden Organizing Committee did not make the situation more bearable. To see Africans pleading to participate in the Olympiad was a low point for me. GEN UNA SUMUS… I wonder.

  29. The visa thing is a big issue and is not going to go away. Just to get a relative or a friend to visit me in England from Southern Africa and my in laws are mostly Zimbabwean is a big task and if suggested policy is implemented might even include a substantial deposit being lodged. And we are in Russia next. At least they are not members of the EEC.

    Can we get a discussion page going abt the rules…

    Now to the original subject of this page which was the Kawuma brothers performance. They did very well ; I was one of their victims. However Steven did have 9-10 whites I think as he moved up and down between bds 2 and 3. They are also both living in the UK and I do think that maybe some countries do need to conduct a register of their players living abroad who maybe can travel more easily esp at short notice.

    I liked Stewart Ruebens suggestion of merging the Zambian and Uganda teams as the defaults created were unsettling. Bill Hook in possibly his last Olympiad had 3 defualts and then in the last round when he and his team wanted to play found the heavy hand of authority defaulting the Malawi team for a tram problem which left them 7 minutes late. Surely a chess rule is not meant to also make your opponents suffer as well. Craig van Tilbury even played his game through even though it had already been defaulted as a sort of protest. So to discuss the rules!!! Go siame as we say in Botswana.

  30. I’ll get a thread started.

    You’re right about the visa policy, but again other sporting events do not have the level of difficulty that the Olympiad seems to have. It may also be a function of leadership of FIDE, but I’m not going to broach that here.

    I think merging the teams would only hide the deficiencies of the system. If you did that it would set a precedent for doing it in subsequent years. No Zambian or Ugandan would want to do that. They come to represent their country like everyone else. If we create “All-African” or “All-Asian” teams, then the Olympiad will lose its integrity. Someone on this blog already denounced the visually- and physically-challenged teams because they are not nationality-based. I really hadn’t thought of this and don’t see a problem, but I understand the concern.

    As I told Nigel, 9-10 whites is irrelevant. That is what team events often call for. You move your players in positions where they can get the most points. They could very well have done the same thing with a full team and no one would have made any mention of it. No one says, “He scored 8.5/10, BUT he had 7-8 whites, so it’s no big feat.” Color allocation should be a non-issue.

    Conducting a register is good, but it doesn’t help the problem of unjust visas policies. FIDE has to do some better PR so that embassies will actually BELIEVE that such an event is important. Currently, they don’t. Why? They don’t believe Africans play chess. Why? Because the chess media reinforces a stereotype of chess eurocentrism. Poor PR… bad for chess… bad for Olympiad.

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