2022 African Individual Championships (Lagos, Nigeria)
In a few days, Africa’s top players will trek to Africa’s most populous city (25 million) Lagos for the African Individual Chess Championship (AICC). According to Africa Chess Media’s Babatunde Ogunsiku has been counting down to the day of the tournament’s start. The marquee tournament on the continent comes in the aftermath of the Chess Olympiad which was arguably one of the best in history. African teams had some success.
Will this be the big moment for Fy Rakotomaharo?
Photo by Lennart Ootes
There were a number of title winners included Zhemba Jemusse of Zimbabwe playing in his first FIDE tournament and getting the FM title (with IM norm). He will carry the flag to Lagos to compete in the AICC. Donald Paiva of Mozambique will be looking for glory as will Madagascar’s Fy Rakotomaharo who earned a GM norm at the Olympiad. All of these hopefuls will have to get past Africa’s finest in Bassem Amin (2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018) and Ahmed Adly (2005, 2011, 2019, 2021) of Egypt. The Egyptians have thoroughly dominated continent championships over the past years and will be vying for a spot at the World Cup.
Ahmed Adly will seek to defend his 2021 crown.
Photo by Egyptian Chess Federation
Part of the festivities will be the appearance of FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich who will be the first FIDE official in many years to visit the African continent in a non-election year. According to African Chess Media,
It is also important to note that the World Chess Federation (FIDE) President has decided to grace the event that holds in Lagos, Nigeria. This will be the very first time that President Arkady Dvorkovich will be in Nigeria on official chess business, and to see how this affects Africa chess.
Tshepiso Lopang, African Chess Confederation President 2022-2026
Photo by Mark Livshitz
In addition, Tshepiso Lopang (newly-elected African Chess Confederation President) will be on hand to bless the tournament and lead the business sessions. It will be of the continent in her first championship and there is excitement to see what the Botswana native has in store for the next four years.
Sani Mohammed, President of Nigerian Chess Federation
Photo by Africa Chess Media
Open: http://chess-results.com/tnr675297.aspx?lan=1 (75 players, 27 countries)
Women: http://chess-results.com/tnr675298.aspx?lan=1 (35 players, 13 countries)
The African games have begun!
The African Individual Chess Championships started earlier this week to great fanfare and anticipation of a visit by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. He also attended the 12th All-Africa Games in Morocco and the Grand Chess Tour in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. After participating in the opening of the event, he also toured the areas where Tunde Onakoya’s “Chess in Slums” were thriving. It is a credit to Dvorkovich to visit Africa when not campaigning for votes in an election. Africa deserves better.
The championships feature Africa’s top brass from 27 countries with 55 players in the Open section and 28 players from 13 countries in the women’s section. Egypt touts the highest-rated African player in Bassem Amin and the defending African champion in Ahmed Adly. Adly runs a successful chess academy back in Cairo producing the next generation of champions. However, he will attempt to keep the crown one more year. In the women’s section, Shahenda Wafa will attempt her 3rd title, winning in 2017 and 2018. Second seed is Caxita Esperanca of Angola.
Live Games: https://lichess.org/broadcast/african-individual-chess-championships-2022/
Interview with Arkady Dvorkovich
Video by Babatunde Ogunsiku (Africa Chess Media)
Bassem Amin & Shahenda Wafa… 2022 African Champs!
WGM Shahenda Wafa (gold-women’s), GM Abdelrahman Hesham (bronze-open), GM Bassem Amin (gold-open). All photos by Babatunde Ogunsiku (Africa Chess Media)