Bassem Amin tours South Africa!

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Jackie Ngubeni with GM Bassem Amin.
Photo courtesy of Jackie Ngubeni.

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)

Part 1

Part 2
Dinner, School Visits, Mandela Square

Part 3
Crawford School, Chess in the Park

Part 4
Visit with Angolans, Relaxation, Prom

Complete Story (one PDF file)


  1. Thank you very much Daaim! Regarding the Vuvuzela clip (Indeed a tool made famous by the Soccer 2010 World Cup); Don’t underestimate Bassem’s first attempts at blowing the ‘damn thing’, it’s not easy I tell you! I myself can’t manage. The brother teaching the GM on the clip is a seasoned ‘maestro’ who should be considered for a recording deal (:-)). We loved GM. Bassem’s visit! WHAT A GENTLEMAN!!

  2. With South Africa yet to produce a GM, the visit was indeed a great inspiration for aspiring Chess pros, and enthusiasts (like myself). Contrary to what we may think or have previously seen with people of his stature (even less); GM Bassem is a humble giant.
    His behaviour and simplicity hid his accomplishments. It is my wish that many titled players take a leaf out of GM Bassem and head South to impart their knowledge and inspire more – even within their environment.
    To Grandmaster Bassem and The Chess Academy, a big thank you for this great and rare opportunity that you afforded to all who interacted with you.
    Luckily my score with the GM remains 0-0!

  3. Never in my wildest dream did I ever thought I will be able to play againsta Grand Master and to add to it an African Champion at that. I 1st thank Mr Jackie for organising the trip and a well prepared report at that, it shows GM Bassem was thouroughly entertained. GM Bassem your visit made a huge impact on my kids and Jozua Naude Primary School kids and staff altogether, they still cannot stop talking of your motivational talk, IQ and Cognitive capabilities. Indeed, just like the report states GM Bassem is the most humblest person I ever met. I enjoyed trying to teach you the blowing of the Vuvuzela and hope now your Elo has moved up from 800 to respectable rating (hahahaha). I enjoyed our game even though the result was not in my favour. Hope to meet you across the board again. Best Regards “GM Benito”

  4. Really enjoyed reading Jackie’s report on Bassem’s trip to SA. Seems he came to SA, won every game he played but still managed to come to grief!

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