Newsweek runs story on African Chess

Scott Johnson was in Windhoek, Namibia following the 2007 African Chess Championships and with the idea of interviewing Amon Simutowe, a 25-year old Zambian who recently earned his third Grandmaster result. However, he was able to get more than he bargained for. In his article titled, "Dreaming of Checkmate," he spoke with FIDE Vice President Lewis Ncube who described Simutowe's feat and Robert Gwaze's continental title as a chess renaissance. Clearly Ncube was referring to sub-Saharan region where chess has not received much support. Hopefully recent successes will draw more supporters.

Some of the challenges of African chess are well-known… lack of equipment, lack of strong competition. However
Alfred Chimathere of Malawi had a different challenge. He rode a bus for 72 hours just to get to the African Championship only to be detained  because officials wouldn't accept his visa.  These hardships are very common among players in Africa are creates an environment where it is hard to concentrate and focus one's energy. Let us hope that the renaissance has come.

Read "Dreaming of Checkmate"

Posted by The Chess Drum: 9 October 2007

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