Zimbabwe’s Mandizha gets 2nd GM norm!

Farai Mandizha (Zimbabwe)
Photo by David Llada

Over the years, IM Farai Mandizha has made strides since coming from Zimbabwe nearly a decade ago. Initially, he developed a reputation for his blitz skills, but as he developed a plan for earning his titles, he focused more on incremental improvements. In this time he has earned his IM title with three norms and last weekend scored his second GM norm at the 2017 World Open. Farai scored 6/9 with 4.5/7 (+3=3-1) against GMs.

Based in New York with wife Respina, Farai has been teaching at Hunter College Prep for the past four years. He told The Chess Drum of one of his prized pupils in 16-year old Fikirte Hunt. Sometimes it is difficult for a chess coach to keep their own game sharp, but Farai will have a lot of instructional material for his students at Hunter after his sterling result. He is hoping to earn the last norm in the coming months. He is hoping to become the first Zimbabwean Grandmaster and only the third sub-Saharan African player to earn the coveted GM title.

Following are three of his games from the tournament:

IM Farai Mandizha (2342-Zimbabwe)
# Player ELO Nation
1 Jesse James Lozano 2024 USA
2 GM Andrey Stukopin 2577 Russia
3 GM Ruifeng Li 2571 USA
4 GM Jeffery Xiong 2658 USA
5 GM Aleksandr Lenderman 2585 USA
6 GM Jianchao Zhou 2595 China
7 GM Ashwin Jayaram 2492 India
8 GM Alexander Stripunsky 2536 USA
9 IM Andrew Tang 2461 USA
Score: 6-3 (GM NORM)


  1. Hi Daaim
    Is he exclusively a chess coach, or does he also teach a subject at Hunter college prep?

    1. Chess is part of the curriculum at Hunter. All elementary school students get chess as part of their academic schedule.

  2. GM Ruifeng Li refused the draw and finally dropped a minor. Farai’s strength was at GM level years ago, so his result is not a surprise for me, but it was for the unsuspecting Li.

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