2005 African Individual Chess Championships
(November 4th - November 15th)
Lusaka, Zambia

Africa's Young GM takes Title!

Ahmed Adly took the continent by storm a few years ago when he won the 2001 African Junior Championship  by a 9-0 score and thus earning the IM title. The 18-year old Egyptian fulfilled another goal by earning the coveted Grandmaster title earlier this year and now has won the 2005 African Individual Chess Championship which ended on yesterday. With his 7-2 mark, Adly also qualified to participate in the FIDE World Cup which will begin in two short weeks. In an article from Lusaka's Post newspaper, Adly said, "It feels good to be first in Africa at the age of 18, it feels really great."

This tournament had some exciting moments and was accented by the performance of native son
Stanley Chumfwa who scored a strong result and will thus earn the IM title and a trip to the World Cup. Chumfwa tied joint 2nd with GM Slim Belkhodja of Tunisia and FM Ali Frhat, another surprise story. Frhat had a stellar tournament by holding two GMs (Belkhodja and Adly), a strong IM in Amon Simutowe, beating IMs Aimen Rizouk of Algeria and Essam El-Gindy of Egypt.  He will also earn the IM title by virtue of his performance.

GM Ahmed Adly (2005 African Champion). Copyright  2005, Zambian Chess Federation.

GM Ahmed Adly
(2005 African Champion)

IM Watu Kobese started poorly when he was upset by South African Donovan Van den Heever and Daniel Jere in rounds one and three, but made a run and was able to sprint into a tie for the 5th and final spot on 6-3. Kobese triumphed over IM Fouad El Taher (Egypt) in a tense play-off for the fifth qualifying position and will make his 4th trip to a World Championship tournament. FIDE invoked a rule which stated that Africa would only receive five spots in the FIDE World Cup instead of six because Moroccan Grandmaster Hichem Hamdouchi earned a spot at the 4.1 zonal tournament. Zonal President Lewis Ncube told The Chess Drum:

"The qualifiers were reduced from SIX to FIVE by the Continental Presidents on account that GM Hamdouchi qualified through the Zone 4.1 Zonal. A lot of players were unhappy with this development since at previous Continental meetings it was decided that the Continental Championships would provide all SIX qualifiers."

Ncube stated that he plans to investigate the matter.

Ignatius Njobvu had a strong showing and earns the FM title exceeding the requirement by one point. The Botswana champion held defending champion El-Gindy of Egypt and defeated IM Kenny Solomon of South Africa enroute to his +2 score on 5-3. Botswana had a double triumph when the nation's women's champion Tuduetso Sabure rebounded from consecutive losses to win her last two games and thus, the women's continental championship.

Sabure was aided by her teammate
Tshepiso Lopang who beat Egypt's Sohir Busta of Egypt in the last round. The Botswana star will earn the WIM title with her continental victory. The four South Africans were hurt in the last round since they were paired against each other. Both games ended in quick draws. The issue of players from the same federation being paired in the last two rounds was subject to a fierce debate in open section.

Denis Frick finished 3rd on 6-3 while her compatriot Anzl Laubscher ended on 5-3 along with Lopang and Zambian Cindy Simango. According to a Botswana source last month, Sabure had said that she would not travel to Zambia due to study commitments and her approaching exams at the University of Botswana (UB) where she is a nursing student. She had a change of mind and it turned out to be a good decision. In a prophetic article written last month by Monkagedi Gaotlobogwe in Botswana's Mmegi Sport, the writer stated:

"Over the last five years, Tuduetso Sabure's chess has been maturing steadily like wine. Botswana number top female chess player has risen to the apex through a combination of natural talent and hard work. She may not have attained prestigious international chess rankings, but looking at her growing success, it might just be a matter of time before she gets a title."  (Read article here).

Congratulations to the new African Champions!

Tournament Coverage!

Posted by The Chess Drum: 15 November 2005