Gillian Bwalya at World Cup

Gillian Bwalya probably became known to the world after his creditable 7/10 performance at the 2012 Olympiad netting him the FM title. Since then he has pocketed the IM title pending on his conferral. For winning the 4.3 subzonal, the Zambian will compete in the 2013 World Cup tournament. He is the third Zambian to do so after GM Amon Simutowe and IM Stanley Chumfwa.

IM-elect Gillian Bwalya at the 2013 Tanzania Open in Dar es Salaam.
Photos by Brian Kidula.

Bwalya has had a long road to the World Cup. He has flown under the radar and has not been one of the high-profile players in Zambia until he started an onslaught accented by his 8/9 performance at the 4.3 subzonal. The 25-year old appealed for financial assistance to Tromso, Norway and the Swedish Embassy responded in kind with $3000 for flight expenses.

Zambia’s Gillian Bwalya being interviewed by GM Susan Polgar.
Photo by Susan Polgar.

He is facing former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, a chess legend. This will perhaps be the strongest player he will ever face and truly an honor to match wits with such a persona. In an interview with Zambia Post, Bwalya stated, “I know he will underrate me and I will utilise that to beat him. I will not be intimidated by his record,” Bwalya said. Very ambitious words, but of course he will not be the favorite. Nevertheless, Africa is proud of Bwalya and wishes him well in his chess pursuits!

Bwalya in action against Kramnik with his signature Fedora hat.

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  1. Gillan got a feel of kramnik’s solid style. He got nothing out of that dutch defense. I hope he has a better game with the white pieces. I would like him to start with 1.d4 because i think would have a more “comfortable” game than if he plays 1.e4 which could lead to early complications and a quick loss.

  2. Zambia’s Gillian Bwalya being interviewed by GM Susan Polgar and IM Lawrence Trent after loss to Vladimir Kramnik.

    The final position. Kramnik has an overwhelming space advantage, but Polgar encouraged him not resign these types of positions where the material is even. Perhaps Bwalya deferred to his stronger opponent, but you have to make them work a bit!

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  4. Bwayla bows out to Kramnik 2-0. Simply overwhelmed strategically, but it must have been a great experience. How many players can say they have played a World Champion in a classical tournament game?? He did his best!

    We are proud of you Gillian! Forward!

  5. Yes, a truely historic experience. Hopefully this should motivate him to work harder so he can participate next time as a much stronger and experienced player with better chances of making it to the second round. His participation in the world cup has been a source of pride and inspiration for me.

  6. All the best for the years to come…You have just lasted a bit longer…….not a bad position…give them a run for the money and firm…….next time perserver…We are prou of you

    1. Thanks for game two.It amost seems like he did not have a strategy and just wanted to last to al least 35 moves in the game.Better to unleash the creative juices and suffer a spectacular loss.But i still respect the guy i know how difficult it is to play competitive chess without a coach to help sharpen your skills.Am sure kramnik had access the latest games of gillium and found a stlye to kill off the young man.It would be nice to hear from kramnik what he thought of the opponent.

  7. I’m reading a line in this article saying “This will perhaps be the strongest player he will ever face”
    But look who he is up against today at the 44th World Olympiads in R5

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