GM Bassem Amin of Egypt scored a vital win in the final round over GM Kenny Solomon of South Africa to grab his 6th African Individual Chess Championship title in Lagos last week.
His final score was 8 points out of nine rounds, the same as his compatriot GM Adly Ahmed. However, based on a tie-break, GM Bassem Amin was declared the winner of this year’s edition and confirmed his status as ‘King of African Chess ‘.
GM Hesham Abdelrahman won the bronze medal with seven points to ensure a clean Egyptian 1-2-3 sweep of the podium.
The ‘Thriller in Lagos‘ would be an apt title for the final and 9th round of the 2002 African Individual Chess Championship. GM Amin and GM Adly were in contention for top honours in this iconic continental event. At stake were also two qualifying slots for the forthcoming 2023 World Cup.
Leading at the start of the final round was GM Adly with seven points facing Namibian top star IM Dante Beukes who had 5.5 points.
On board, two GM Bassem Amin, with seven points, faced South African GM Kenny Solomon, who had 5.5 points.
On board, three GM Hesham Abdelrahman, with 6.5 points, faced IM David Sliva of Angola, who had 5.5 points. The game quickly ended in a draw to give GM Hesham Abdelrahman a bronze medal.
The next game to finish was GM Bassem, who defeated GM Solomon in 26 moves.
All attention was now on board one, where GM Adly, with the black pieces, opted for the Caro-Kann after 1. e4. By move 34, it was clear that GM Adly was on the ropes with engines giving a +4 evaluation for IM Beukes! Interesting, based on the results for boards one and two already in a draw or loss would still give GM Adly the silver medal. It was, however, a win that he wanted to take his 5th African continental title.
GM Adly doggedly fought and managed to squeeze a draw in the end and obtain the silver medal. A thrilling game, no doubt, leaving GM Adly feeling crushed and disappointed.
GM Bassem and GM Adly equally shared the top two cash prizes of USD 9,000 (USD 5,000 for the first place and USD 4,000 for the runners-up). Both players will represent Africa in the 2023 World Cup.
GM Abedelrahman went home with USD 3,000. IM David Silva, IM Fy Rakotomaharo, IM Mariano Ortega, IM Dante Beukes and FM Callistus Eyetonghan equally shared USD 4,500 for positions four to eight.
WGM Shahenda Wafa of Egypt won the Ladies’ section of the event. You can find the report for this section here.
Photo credit Babatunde Ogunsiku.
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Article by Kenya Chess Masala.