Perhaps my friend was right when he said: “I want to attend this event coz I want to see African chess glory in its cradle’’
The 2021 Africa Schools’ Individual Chess Championship kick started on Monday, 13th December at Pride Inn Azure Hotel in Nairobi , Kenya promising fireworks.
The opening ceremony, which was climaxed by a vigorous speech by Africa Chess Confederation President, Lewis Ncube also left the participants in jovial mood as they were also entertained by a Kenyan music band. The dancing that reigned the closing part of the opening ceremony emphasized further the power of chess to unite.
12 Countries: Ghana, Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe , South Africa , Sudan , Tanzania, Uganda and the host, Kenya, are contesting for honors in the following age categories : under 7 ,under 9,under 11,under 13,under 15, and under 17 for open category , and ,under 7 and 9,under 11,under 13,under 15, and under 17 for girls category .
Just a quick look at the tournament’s glory. The host Kenya have the largest overall representation of 64 players, followed by South Africa 40 players , while Kenya’s neighbors, Uganda , have the third largest representation of 23 players.
While on the other end of the pendulum, coming all the way from the interior of Africa, Sudan , with only one representative, has the least representation.
Perhaps the most glittering rating across the board is that of WCM Gabatshwarwe Refilwe Tsutsu of Botwana 1798 who is participating in the under 17 girls category.
The other shining ratings are that of Ugandan Oluka Robert Mcligeyo 1686 (under 17 boys) , Shriyan Priyasha Santosh, whose 1591 Elo rating is the highest ladies rating in Malawi(Under 17 girls), Another Malawian Lakshita Dutt has a rating of 1589 (Under 13 girls), and South African Badenhorst Chloe 1555 (Under 15 girls) .
As we went to press, in the under 17 girls’ category, WCM Gabatshwarwe Refilwe Tsutsu of Botswana and Malawian wonder girl Priyasha Santoshi had both plucked draws in their round 2 games, while it was all rosy for the other mentioned highest rated players who accumulated maximum points after 2 rounds.
For the meantime, we are recognizing strong players by their rating, but as we go along accumulated points will reveal who the real strong players are.
Under 13 Open has attracted the largest number of participants (23 players), followed by under 17 open (20 players).
The participation in the rest of the sections is as follows : under 7 open (12 players), under 7 and 9 Girls (10 players), under 9 open (14 players), under 11 girls( 17 players), under 11 girls (11 players ) , under 13 girls (14 players), under 15 open( 13 players ), under 15 girls (17 players), under 17 open( 20 players), and under 17 girls (13 players).
The event will be played in 9 rounds, up to the 19th of December, 2021.
The host president and Tournament Director ,Benard Wanjala, described these junior events as the cradle of chess in Africa.
The winners of each category will be awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Apart from that ,there will also be title awards of FM/WFM(gold), CM /WCM (Silver and Bronze) for unders 13, 15 and 17 , and CM/WCM (gold ) , CM , WCM (Silver and bronze for under 11 and below.
So far, Africa has 12 grandmasters, and almost all of them started their journey from junior events like these.
Another well-known African junior event is the Africa Junior Chess Championship. But since 2016 , the Africa Individual Schools Chess Championship came on board to supplement junior chess activities on the continent.
For full results and stats, go to link below