The 2022 African Individual Chess Championship kicked off in Lagos, Nigeria, amid a loud cheer from fans across the continent. The event sees 55 players from 21 African federations participating, making it one of the most successful editions in recent history.
Underlying the importance of the event is the presence of FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who made time to attend the opening ceremony and engage in other social activities.
Africa’s top players are in attendance seeking glory and to grab part of the generous USD 24,000 cash prizes on offer. These include GM Amin Bassem, GM Adly Ahmed, GM Hesham Abdelrahman all of Egypt, GM Kenny Solomon of South Africa, IM Mariano Ortega of Cape Verde, and IM Fy Anenaina Rakotomaharo of Madagascar. Others seeking glory include IM Dante Beukes of Namibia, IM David Silva of Angola and IM Richmond Phiri of Zambia.
Sadly Kenya is missing this year’s edition due to budgetary constraints.
FM Haruna Nsubuga and Shakira Ampaire are Uganda’s representatives. South Sudan has fielded four players: John Henry, Gong Thon Gong, Rehan Deng Cypriano and Peter Majur Manyang.
Other East African nations like Tanzania, Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda failed to send any players for the event.
GM Adly Ahmed is the defending and four-time title holder (2005, 2011, 2019, 2021), while GM Amin Bassem is a five-time holder (2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018). The Egyptians maintain a stranglehold on the African Individuals title, winning 12 of the 16 editions!
The nine-round event runs from 18th to 27th September 2022 at the plush Orchid Hotel in downtown Lagos the largest city in Nigeria.
The Ladies Section has 28 players from 14 African federations. WGM Wafa Shahenda of Egypt is the top seed with a rating of 2110. She is seeking her third title to add to the ones she earned in 2017 and 2018.
Her closest rival is WIM Caxita Esperanca of Angola, who is rated 1961 and will be seeking her maiden continental title.
Egypt has equally dominated the African Individuals Ladies’ Championship, winning 9 of the 14 editions.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich visited Makoko today and met with Tunde Onakoya, the founder of the ‘Chess in Slums Africa‘ initiative, to witness his work.
‘Chess in Slums Africa‘ is an initiative to empower young ones in impoverished communities by using the game of chess.
The President held a meeting to discuss how FIDE can better help with this and other similar initiatives, and also played with one of Tunde’s pupils and was pleasantly surprised at how strong he was.
All photo credits to Babatunde Ogunsiku, Mario Kpan & FIDE.
2022 African Individual Chess Championships on chess-results.com.
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2016 African Individual Chess Championship.
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Article by Kenya Chess Masala.