Today, seven youths from the Ivory Coast will trek to neighboring country of Ghana to compete in the 2019 African Junior Championships. The past several years have seen the Ivory Coast take substantial steps toward relevancy in the chess world.
At the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, the Ivorian delegation make an impression with their orange accented outfits and the fiery activism of their President, Dr. Essis Essoh. At this point, Essoh and his executive staff already had big plans for the future growth of Ivorian chess.
Ivorian delegation (Charles Lorng, Privat Kouakou, Essoh Essis)
in Tromso, Norway for the 2014 Chess Olympiad
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
Fast forward four years, the Federation Ivoirienne Des Echecs known as “FIDEC” organized a novel event called the 2018 Cote d’Ivoire Invitational featuring 10 of Africa’s top players. It was that event that led to FIDEC hosting the world class Grand Chess Tour event featuring World Champion Magnus Carlsen and several of the world’s top 10 players.
Momentum was maintained when FIDEC held a number of tournaments, Lorng launched the MiniChess franchise and had GM Maurice Ashley to come in and conduct training sessions. The last session was to prepare the juniors for the championship in Accra which started today.
Ivorian Juniors heading for Accra, Ghana!
The following players will be traveling for the 2019 African Junior Championships (Accra, Ghana)
Ange Kouame (19)
Yao Aubin Maximilien Tanoe (18)
Yowel Madeleine Lorng (17)
Amin Richard Branch (14)
Tchetche Marie Yavo (14)
Elijah Pharell Niamkey (12)
Trainer: Francklin Kouya
The event will run through November 3rd and will feature 41 players from 11 nations. All of the Ivoirian players will be looking to get a FIDE rating or enhance the ones they currently have. There are also opportunities for the FIDE titles. The Ivorian Elephants will be ready! Bonne chance!