Brema Bah: Mali’s Olympiad Gem

Mali Mali Mali

The 2010 Chess Olympiad was an organizational success of the highest order. The pre-tournament concerns were put to rest and the Siberian cold took a hiatus to allow the Olympiad to shine. Brema Bah of Mali was one jewel in the field.

The Olympiad is a global chess festival involving all member federations in a celebration of how chess has touched people from the largest cities to the smallest villages. Many of the players are local legends and their nations send them abroad with all the pride befitting of national heroes.

Brema Bah

While the closing ceremonies award medals to worthy recipients, there are often players whose performances are overlooked. One such player worthy of noting was Mali’s Bah Brema with 7/7 and 2538 performance. Bah got nary a mention in the halls of Khanty-Mansiysk, but had the highest possible percentage score with 100%. In 2008, the medal criteria changed from percentage to performance rating which is much more favorable to elite Grandmasters.

Mali, a West African nation with proud empires and the renowned Timbuktu heritage, is known more for draughts than chess. However, Mali made its presence felt among the world’s chess nations. For Brema Bah, the world will never know about the fascinating human interest story that led to his spectacular performance, but here is a collection of his games at the 2010 Olympiad.


  1. As usual, Dr Shabazz is able to unearth fascinating stories. Here is a great reminder how outside the limelight, there is always a gem which surprises. Like poetry, great examples of skill appear from all over the world.

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