The 2013 African Junior Championships were hosted on January 25th-31st at Hotel Bouazza in Tiaret, Algeria and organized by the Algerian Chess Federation (FADE) and the African Chess Union. This tournament features players under 20 years old or born before January 1, 1993. Eight federations were represented and there were some surprises. Despite being played in the year 2014, this tournament crowned the winners of the last calendar year. Unfortunately, the event seemed to have lost some luster as last year’s event was also sparsely attended. More on that later.
Egypt continued their annual domination of this event as both of their entries won the top two places. IM Moheb Ameir won his first four games and finished with a convincing +6 on 7.5/9. Ameir lost only to Ilias Mohamed Saim of Algeria who ended up with the bronze with 6.5/9. Mohamed Nadir of Egypt and Saim both scored 6.5/9, but the Egyptian had better tiebreaks and got the silver medal. Ameir will be awarded with a GM norm. Both Angola and Algeria had four participants in the open section.
Fifteen-year old Angolan Esperanca Caxito scorched the girls’ field with 8.5/9 to win the gold medal drawing only with her compatriot Maria Domingos. Top seed WCM Feriel Lalaoui of Algeria took the silver with 7/9 and her compatriot Asma Hamlaoui got the bronze. For her efforts, Caxito will get the automatic WIM title and her first WGM norm.
There were some complaints buzzing on several Facebook groups about the lack of presence of federations south of the Sahara. Jackie Ngubeni stated on “Zim Chess”,
The Africa Junior Chess Championship is currently underway in Algeria! This event is very important as it gave recognition to erstwhile chess STARS the likes of Gwaze, Simutowe, Khetho, Mabusela, Mwali and many others! NOW why the HELL are we as the Sub-Sahara not well represented? Where do we expect attrition to come from?
A healthy debate ensued there was sharp words for the organization (or lack thereof) for various federations for not affording young talents the opportunity. The organizers provide full room and board for two players from each federation, but the federations are responsible for flight and other expenses. The primary issue in the discussion seemed to be the hardship of attracting funding. This seems to be an issue every year for African federations and hopefully the FIDE Presidential candidates will address this issue.
January 25th – January 31st, 2014 (Tiaret, Algeria)
|3||Saim, Mohamed Ilias||Algeria||
|4||Bhawoodien, Mohamed||FM||S. Africa||
|7||Willenberg, Shane||S. Africa||
|14||Ben Ammar, Mohamed||Tunisia||
|7||Ait, Abbas Nesrine||Algeria||
|10||De Castro, Neusa Aridas||Mozambique||