2011 CUCA International (Luanda, Angola)

Angola Angola Angola

GM Sergei Tiviakov, world traveler impresario, is currently in Angola taking part in the CUCA International tournament in the capitol of Luanda. He has taken very nice pictures and a brief article has appeared on ChessBase. GM Nigel Short heads the field of 26 players in the open section.

There are a couple of other GMs including Portuguese due of Luis Galego and Antonio Fernandes. IM Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe is also in the field and will be looking for a GM norm. Unfortunately, he has lost in the first round to Angola’s IM Amorin Agnelo.

Results: https://chess-results.com/tnr50050.aspx?art=4&lan=1&wi=1000

Photos by GM Sergei Tiviakov

GMs Nigel Short (England) and Sergei Tiviakov (Netherlands)

Angola’s “Chess Hall of Fame”

Aerial view of the playing hall!

IM Kudzanai Mamombe (2089) vs. GM Antonio Fernandes (2404)
IM Robert Gwaze (2429) vs. IM Amorin Agnelo (2176)

More photos at ChessBase story here.


  1. The game score is wrong. I played 41. c6 to which the continuation was bxc6 42. bxc6! Rxf4+ 43. Kc5 Rf2 44. d6+ Kd8 45. Nb5 (45.Na4! wins on the spot) Re2 46. Na7 Rc2+ 47.Kb5 a4 48. Kb4 1-0

  2. BTW, can Robert Gwaze get a norm at 6/9? He’s at 4.0 after 6 rounds. Does it depend on who he plays in the next 3 rounds? I read that GM Ashley scored his final norm by only going 0.5/2 in his first 2 games, then 5.5/6 against IMs and GMs, and then 0/1 in his final game.

  3. I would have to see after his nine rounds. He needs to play one more GM. On a cursory glance, the rating of his opposition will hurt him. We’ll have to see after he completes his field.

    Yes… Short has been traveling a lot in Africa in the last several years. It certainly helps with public relations and promoting the game to sponsors. What needs to happen is African officials need to attract more GMs to play. This is the only way that players like Gwaze will get norm opportunities. Traveling abroad is often too cumbersome and cost-prohibitive for most Africans.

    I have been in touch with Gwaze and he cites lack of sponsorship as a big hurdle in traveling abroad for strong tournaments. I would like to get him to come to the U.S. He would need a sponsor for travel and he can get hospitality here… particularly the Black players who consider him a hero.

  4. One of the other issues for Africa and the Caribbean is the earning of FIDE titles without the requisite rating (GM=2500, IM=2400, FM=2300). I believe it may hurt chances to organize norm tournaments. For example, if you have an IM norm tournament, but your three IMs are rated 2100-2200, there is virtually no chance for another player to earn an IM norm! With such a low category, a player would have to have a perfect score and such a tournament would probably not be approved (for norms). If more 2500+ GMs and 2400+ IMs are invited to Africa, then these ratings should increase overtime. African and Caribbean ratings are depressed and strong players like Short, Tiviakov, Galego and Fernandes help the rating curve over time.

    1. Aderito will have played at least three GMs, but his rating performance is low due to the average rating of his opposition. We will have to see if he can play Tiviakov in order to raise the rating category. He would probably need to win his remaining games.

  5. Very nice photos by Sergei Tiviakov in Luanda!

    Independence Square

    A mural on Luanda’s Independence Square

    Short giving simul.

    Nigel Short gives a simul on a traffic intersection.

    Alina at Miradoura de Lua (

    Alina l’Ami at Miradoura de Lua (“Luna landscape”),
    a canyon 40 km south of Luanda.

    Women's Section

    Women’s Section of the Cuca International

    Tshepiso Lopang

    Tshepiso Lopang of Botswana

    Boikutso Mudongo

    Boikhutso Mudongo of Botswana

    Luanda at dusk.

    Dusk falls over the city of Luanda

    See complete report by
    WGM Alina l’Ami and GM Sergey Tiviakov here!

  6. Thanx for the info. Gwaze’s Round 5 draw against Nigel Short and Round 6 draw against Tiviakov are his most impressive results so far. I see that Gwaze’s performance rating is only 2455 after round 6. Doesn’t he need a 2600 perfomance rating after 9 games which doesn’t seem possible?

    1. Yes. He needs a 2600 TPR. Unfortunately, the average rating of his opposition is too low to obtain a GM norm. If he ends up playing Fernandes and Galego their ratings are 2400, that will help but may not be enough. You can see how hard it is to improve on the continent without these types of tournaments. This is a good tradition and hopefully there will be more attraction to the continent of Africa.

      1. Robert Gwaze didn’t aid his cause one bit by losing on time when a pawn up in the first round. Tournaments this weak only provide borderline chances for a GM norm as one really needs 3 or 4 extra GMs participating to be moderately comfortable. Having an accident of this magnitude, particularly so early, made things very difficult for Robert. Needing to maximise his chances, he then erred by failing to press against Tiviakov in a superior position ( a typical case of Elo-deference). On the positive side, I believe that, due to the ample publicity on chessbase, here and elsewhere, next year will be stronger. Gwaze and other talented players like him will have better opportunities then.

        1. Exactly my point. crush the weak. avoid accidents. I dont know what Nigel thinks. Was Gwaze vs Nigel Short result an accident?

      2. No, of course it wasn’t an accident. Why did you get that impression? I was winning at one stage, but I screwed up. It was a fairly normal game of chess…

  7. The Angola Chess Federation (FAX) administration, together with its leadership ( Hon. Dr. Jaime-President and Mr. Abraao Do Reis-Secretary-general and the Executives at large), deserves accolades for hosting this event for the 3rd time at such magnificent and growing attraction.
    Secondly, let us salute one true friend of the developing chess world; Grandmaster Nigel Short. You Sir! tirelessly put your distinguished chess career and ratings on the line, promoting 3rd-world-chess by gracing its occassions with your visits! Yes! thanks to your persistence we now see the respectable likes of GM. Tiviakov stepping-up to join your trek! We also salute them and welcome with awe! As noted by Daaim, it is the way it should be for our talented players. World come to Africa; out of Africa failed!
    Here is what I don’t understand though; when its the FIDE election cycle, these above mentioned galant efforts and the noble campaigns are frowned upon? Here’s logic that does not require rocket science; If FAX can organize an event of this magnitude “outside” FIDE. Can you imagine what these LEADERS can do “inside” Africa FIDE Chess given prevalent shameful events? For the record; All expenses of the foreign players in CUCA BGi event are covered 100%, plus a stipend is awarded to spice it. NO PLAYER could then be TURNED AWAY for not dwelling the HOSTING hotel (Refer to Zonal 4.3-BCF/FIDE of 2011).
    My only hope this time around is that FAX follow-on with rating it with FIDE (The previous installments were dubiously not).

      1. Hey Jona, good to hear from you. I will be in touch! Had a great time today as I sat and had a chat with the great G. Kasparov in Jo’burg. If I had to sneak preview some of his plans for Chess in Africa? I only can say to I see the light at the end of the tunnel for progress finally. the One&Only has decided to lead from the front in this regard! I am elated!!!!

  8. Surprisingly, I could not find a final report on the tournament, but here are the results:

    1st: GM Nigel Short, 8/9
    2nd: GM Antonio Fernandes, 7/9
    3rd: GM Sergei Tiviakov, 7/9
    (Excel, PDF)

    1st: WGM Alina L’Ami, 9/9
    2nd: WIM Anzel Solomons, 7.5/9
    3rd: WCM Tshepiso Lopang, 6/9
    (Excel, PDF)

  9. 5/26/11 9:32 AM

    Romanian grand master wins female chess trophy

    Luanda – The Romanian grand master of chess Lmi Alina, on Wednesday in Luanda won the 10th edition of the Cuca Cup, in females category, by defeating in the ninth round the Angolan Irineia Gabriel, ANGOP has learnt.

    The Romanian player won the nine games of the tournament and got 3,000 US dollars.

    Solomons Anzel, from South Africa, took the second position and got USD 2,000, followed by Lopang Tshepiso that received 1,500 dollars.

    Link: https://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/desporto/2011/4/21/Romanian-grand-master-wins-female-chess-trophy,d0e5ca98-5e3e-4926-a076-ce260fa5f28c.html

  10. Wonderful ! I don’t know how many people play chess in Africa, but events like this stand the chance to bring it to millions of more Africans. Thumbs up to Short and Tiviakov for being there to support the event .

    1. There is a fair amount of activity, but it is uneven and the quality of the events vary. Botswana, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda and Angola are currently some of the more active federations. Nigeria has good potential, but a couple of nations, chess in West Africa is minimal. Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Namibia have active federations, but quite small. The Sudan just hosted an international tournament. North Africa nations typically have access to more competition since Europe is so close. Africa has struggled mostly due to inadequate support and resources.

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