Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

"Zim's Bobby Doing a Fischer in the UK," The Financial Gazette, 17 February 2005 (Harare, Zimbabwe).

Robert Gwaze, that namesake of the legendary American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer, has emerged as the apparent breakaway leader of the British Grand Prix Championship, according to Zimbabwe National Master Tedmore Mauwa in the United Kingdom.

With only a few tournaments before the end of the 2004/5 season, Gwaze is a hot favourite to win the series. He has to this date amassed 125 points - almost double the score of Grandmasters
Arkell Keith and Murray Chandler who are on 75 and 68 points respectively.

The British Grand Prix is run by Leonard Barden, an international chess correspondent with The Guardian, and has a total prize fund of over 5 000 pounds sterling. The series begins in August with the Golders Green Rapid Play Chess Tournament and runs throughout the year, culminating in the Smith and Williamson British Chess Championships.

IM Robert Gwaze

IM Robert Gwaze

The "Grand Prix" is adopted from the way the tournament is run, which is similar to the Motor Racing Formula One Grand Prix. Points are calculated after the end of selected tournaments and depict an aggregate of scores accumulated over the entire season. The Grand Prix measures consistency and has been part of the British chess calendar for over a quarter of a century. Past winners include grandmasters Nigel Short and Michael Adams, the current British chess champion ranked number seven in the world.

Robert Gwaze became the youngest ever Zimbabwe national chess champion in 1998 at the age of 16 and attained the title of International Master the same year after winning the African Junior Chess Championship in Kenya. His first international experience was in Elista in 1998 and he has since represented Zimbabwe in Turkey, Slovenia and Guernsey.

The best hour in his international career was in 2002 when he won the Olympics Gold Medal on Zimbabwe's first board with a perfect score of nine wins from nine games ahead of Grandmaster
Gari Kasparov, the current world champion and arguably the best player in the game's history.

Gwaze, a full-time chess player, is based in Watford and is ranked sixth in Africa. The past three years have seen him fight for the title of Grandmaster - and his dream might not take too long to come to its realisation. Commenting on his successes, Gwaze thanked the Zimbabwe Chess Federation, in particular its president
Charles Kuwaza, for its support.


Editor's Note: Garry Kasparov is not the current World Champion although he maintains his position as the world's top-ranking player. The world chess federation known as FIDE is currently trying to  reunify the crown which was divided when Kasparov broke away from FIDE and played Nigel Short in a 1993 match. He won that exciting match, but later lost his crown to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000 who is recognized as the official World Champion. Kramnik successfully defended his title against Peter Leko in October 2004. Rustam Kasimdzhanov is the FIDE World Champion by virtue of his impressive win in the FIDE Championship in Libya. He gained the right to play Kasparov (under the unification Prague Agreement) and the winner will play Kramnik. Negotiations are still in progress.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 18 February 2005