The 2004 FIDE World Chess Championship has begun!!
Excitement is flowing from the sands of the Maghreb as 128 participants from around the globe have assembled in Tripoli, Libya for Africa's first championship chess tournament. Young stars are out in full force as the older breed from the upper echelon of chess has decided not to participate. Despite the controversy leading up to the tournament, FIDE has forged ahead to make this a memorable tournament.
Perhaps what is most interesting about this tournament is the "youth movement" as young stars dot the tournament stratosphere. With names like Teimour Radjabov, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergei Karajkin, Alejandro Ramirez and Magnus Carlsen, all eyes will be on this contingent of future world contenders. African players are making a historic appearance as hosts to the other players, but also hope to fare well in their matches. Africa's #1 Hichem Hamdouchi, will be there as well as current African champion, Essam El-Gindy and 17-year old Ahmed Adly. Zambia's Amon Simutowe and Kenny Solomon are shining stars south of the Sahara and the world will perhaps see the toughness of the "Zambezi Shark" and "King Solomon."
There are many top players absent from this tournament and it may be a blessing in disguise. This allows for new talent to emerge and for others to get the world-class experience needed to improve their games. Look for an exciting tournament… may the best player win!!