Egypt is sometimes known as The “Valley of the Kings” with a very rich history. Anyone who has traveled to the North African country will marvel at the ancient civilization and the magic of the Nile River. The nation of 80 million inhabitants, the nation has built a vibrant chess culture and is currently the strongest African chess-playing nation.
In the past decade, the country has produced two of the brightest stars. Besides Ahmed Adly (2640), Egypt has Bassem Amin (2596) who has made a name for himself and is currently the African Champion. As part of his position as continental champion and with the invitation of Jackie Ngubeni, Amin traveled south to South Africa for a goodwill chess tour.
“Hello mister Jackie” was a sweet soft spoken voice that greeted me at the airport from behind. I had missed his walk through by a whisker to grab my mobile from the car park. I was back glued to and searching for his “baby-face” in amongst the multitudes of tourists streaming into South Africa in huge numbers from all over the world! The super GM had landed and checked himself into the country. This was the culmination of my invitation, his acceptance, and then the Chess federation endorsement.
After being officially welcomed by Jackie Ngubeni , he enjoyed a very fulfilling and enjoyable trip. Ngubeni wrote a wonderful story of the champion’s visit which covered every detail including his trip to the schools and a trip to the chess park to take on all comers in blitz with 5:2 odds. It appears as if everyone enjoyed Bassem’s presence in South Africa. 🙂 Let us hope that there will be more goodwill exchanges between African nations. Here is an interesting video of Amin trying to blow the famous vuvuzela!
Essay Links (PDF files – Adobe Acrobat needed)