Chess in the Congo!

The President of the Spanish CF Javier Ochoa visited the city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) from 2 to 8 December invited by the Spanish Embassy in the frame of the Embassy’s cultural activities.

Spain's Chess Federation President Javier Ochoa with Congolese chess officials.

Spain’s Chess Federation President Javier Ochoa with Congolese chess officials.

The Embassy initiated its program of cooperation with the Chess Federation of Congo in 2008 by providing financial support via Mel Carbajo and Felix Costales Artieda, Ambassador of Spain in Congo, for the 1st Tournament “Ville de Kinshasa”.

This year the project made a step forward and in addition to the 2nd tournament in which participated more than 60 players and was won by Gaspard Mashala (who is also president of the Katanga Liga) a chess workshop was organized where, following the request of the CF of Congo, Javier Ochoa explained some details and ideas of the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian Defense and gave simultaneous exhibitions, some of which with time control, in order to estimate the level of the local players and to comment of various technical issues.

In the simultaneous exhibitions only Eustache Kazadi of Kinshasa managed to beat the master, while Gaspard was the only one to make a draw in the games with time control. A. Kabangu was another challenger in the games with time control.

Spain's Chess Federation President Javier Ochoa with Congolese chess officials.

Javier Ochoa plays a round of blitz in full view of Congolese kibitzers.

A few hours after his arrival at Kinshasa the President of the Spanish CF organized a meeting with his colleague Guy Esungi Botetsi and the executives of his Federation in order to review some issues of mutual interest and help them organize a future working plan.

The Spanish Embassy also scheduled during those days two important meetings with the Ministers of Sport and Education which were also attended by the President of the Spanish CF and the Spanish Ambassador, Guy Esungi Botetsi, President of the CF of Congo.

Ochoa meets with with Guy Esungi Botetsi, President of Congo Chess Federation.

Ochoa meets with with Guy Esungi Botetsi, President of Congo Chess Federation.

The outcome of the meetings was the support and the official commitment that Congo will participate for the first time in the 2010 Olympiad and a promise that the Ministry of Education will support the Project of Chess in Schools as presented by the President, Guy Esungi. During the meeting the Small Fritz, one of the working tools that Spanish CF uses for the Spanish project, was presented to the Minister and various units of the device were donated to the CF of Congo. The Spanish CF also donated a chess board fresco.

The local CF was in charge of the organization of the tournament, while Felicien Betu, Karl Yale, Pierrot Kayemba and Odon Zanga acted as Arbiters assisted by Angela María Rivera Yepes of the Spanish Embassy who had been preparing everything for months.

Javier Ochoa de Echagüen expressed his gratitude to the Ambassador Felix Costales for this excellent initiative.


Friday, 18 December 2009 07:07


  1. Its nice to see positive news on the DR of Congo. All I read about is UN Peace Keeping missions, endangered Gorillas, civil war and so on. Such a massive country always has massive potential. Chess can help in the sense of building good skills.

  2. Daaim,

    I met Senor Ochoa during the 2004 Olympiad in Calvia (when you also attended the Olympiad) and he seemed to be a positive, forward-thinking man. I thought that he kept his composure fairly well throughout that global event, helping to deal with the various issues that arose – not least of which was the closing ceremony fracas involving FIDE official GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

    Let us hope that our brothers in the Congo, and other African countries, will benefit from his visit chess-wise and otherwise.

  3. Ian,

    It’s interesting how worlds meet. I remember Calvia and the incident involving Azmai… horrible. We sat together and watched it unfold. You introduced me to Mickey Adams afterwards.

    There really needs to be more outreach from FIDE and other entities to help African chess grow. I want to do a tour of Africa to promote chess (and report on the blog), but I would hate to give the impression that I will be able to give financial gifts for chess. Amon and I had talked of doing this after he got his 3rd norm.

    I hope Congo is able to maintain momentum. I saw new Gabon federation field a team in Dresden, but their tournament came to a inaupicious ending when their board one was forfeited not being at the board. He was there on time but stepped to the bathroom. He was on 8.5/10. The Gabonese team then walked off and forfeited the other boards.

    African nations have not gained the respect and attention of the general body. Remember Calvia when the African nations’ seats were forgotten in the General Assembly… every one of them. They arranged some chairs in the back. I will never forget or forgive FIDE for this. Of course Africans have to help themselves as well and attract good sponsorship. These envoys can help!

  4. This is good news ..I want to know if I wanted to change federations and play for DRC how would I go about it?

  5. Junior,

    I’m not certain. This article is ten years old, so the situation may be a bit different. You can check the information below…

    Guy Botetsi Esungi (President/Delegate)
    Tel.:+243 811779758
    Address:Ville de Kinshasa, Commune de Kalamu, Quartier Yolo – Sud I, Rue Biamange 1

    C/o:Francophone Chess Association (AIDEF) / Vice-President

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