In the aftermath of a successful trip to the All-Africa Games and the African Championships, Egypt is mourning the loss of two members of the chess delegation. Mohammad Labib (60) and International Master Essam Ali Ahmed (38). Both succumbed from complications of cerebral malaria after having participated at the African Championships held in Abuja, Nigeria. Labib served as the team's coach and Ali was the current national champion. Al-Ahram, an Egyptian Weekly reported on Labib's case:
"Mervat Wershana, a radio announcer who accompanied the delegation to Nigeria, told Al-Ahram Weekly that Labib had felt sick on board the plane that brought them back to Egypt. 'He felt feverish and asked me if he could use my mobile phone when we landed to contact his family.' Doctors at the airport, she said, diagnosed him as only suffering from influenza."
Cerebral malaria is a disease with a mortality rate as high as 50%, and if left untreated, can cause death within 24-72 hours. It is usually transferred from an infected mosquito. Apparently both men took a malaria prophylaxis, but apparently it was not adequate to handle the more virulent strain of the virus. Of the 413 members of Egypt's All-Africa delegation, an additional 24 were diagnosed including 14-year old star, IM Ahmed Adly. He and his coach, Hassan Khaled had to be treated in Greece during the World Youth Team tournament. Adly had to skip the tournament, but both have made a full recovery.
The Chess Drum extends sincere condolences to the families of Mohammad Labib and International Master Essam Ali Ahmed and the Egyptian Chess Federation.