The 2023 African Individual Chess Championships (AICC) are currently taking place in Egypt at Hor Moheb Hotel in the historic town of Giza. There are 17 African federations along with five South African players playing under the African Chess Confederation banner. Seven Grandmasters lead the field of 71 players in the Open (44 Egyptian) and 32 in the Women’s field. The Egyptian hosts touted the top three players in each section with GM Bassem Amin and WGM Shrook Wafa holding the top seeds.
Early action in the ancient city!
Egypt has dominated the continent and has not let up since the first tournament in 1998 won by International Master Ibrahim Labib. In fact, since 2003, Egypt has won all but two. Amin has six titles (2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022) while Ahmed Adly has won four (2005, 2011, 2019, 2021). Egyptians Essam El-Gindy (2003), Abdelrahman Hesham (2016) took the crown while Zimbabwe’s Robert Gwaze (2007) and South Africa’s Kenny Solomon (2014) also climbed the highest podium.
Some in social media have called this the “Egyptian Chess Open.” While the majority of the participants are from the host country, the financial hurdles may prove to be too high for some federations. This ignited a debate on WhatsApp groups about increased FIDE support for future AICC tournaments. There was an initial observation by Algerian participant Bilel Bellahcene about the conditions of the hotel. The video was apparently taken in an area of the hotel undergoing renovation. It is not clear from the video that the area was off-limits to normal guests.
To be fair, it would have been hard for the organizers to predict this disturbance at the time the arrangements were made. In hindsight, it would have been ideal to have it at another venue, but perhaps inspections were done well before any construction had begun. Deposits are made well in advance and certainly, a refund would not have been forthcoming. Nevertheless, the playing venue looks fine.
Interestingly enough, most of the champions from the last 20 years are playing except for Egypt’s Essam El-Gindy and Zimbabwe’s Robert Gwaze, the darling of the 2002 Olympiad in Bled. Which new player is ready to make a breakthrough? Will Amin and Adly continue their dominance or will a young talent emerge? Thus far, Amin has suffered a 4th round loss to GM Bilel Bellahcene of Algeria. Bellahcene switched from France to Algeria several years ago and has been a mainstay in the AICC. The top three qualify for the World Cup.
Will Amin make a comeback? Will the Egyptian women continue their onslaught on the African field? Follow the action at the links below!
2023 African Individual Chess Championships (AICC)https://t.co/Kzq6wgAKWA#2023AICC #Chess #23DaysToGo #ACC #FIDEWorldCupQualifiers #Giza #Egypt ??— African Chess Confederation (@AfricanChessCon) April 12, 2023
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