2017 was a big year for us at Africa Chess Net. We organised over 450 online Chess tournaments at Africa Chess Net. We achieved this milestone within a space of 5 months. On average, every day since August 2017 we have run at least 3 tournaments a day. We ran all our tournaments on the Lichess platform which is completely free, open source and very importantly for us does not run ads of any sort. We were relentless in our pursuit to promote chess.
A game for everyone
We had some very strong players taking part in our events, international masters (IMs), FIDE Masters (FM), Candidate Masters (CMs) but we also had club players and players who were starting out. This showed me that chess is a game for everyone, young, old, masters, beginners, chess is a game where all differences fall away.
Our tournaments were hosted in our very own space on Lichess, the Africa Chess Arena! Every day from August 2017 you would find a chess tournament running on Lichess in the Africa Chess Arena around the following times: 1300 hrs, 1900 hrs and 2100 hrs Central African Time.
We ran a league over 3 months that was won by the Uganda A Team headed by Fide Master (FM) Harold Wanyama. The league was a very long affair. There were 26 rounds in the league and I am sure that by the end of the league some players were very tight.
There were several cage matches over the year. In a cage match on Lichess, two players would battle it out for more than an hour or two. In some instances some of the matches were sponsored and the winner would take the sole prize available.
We used Whatsapp and Telegram groups for our communication and daily discussions about the world of chess. We used our groups to promote links about our tournaments and to share information promoting our game. Our chess groups have over 150 chess players from across the continent. While this is a very small fraction of the number of chess players on the continent it is a start to something we hope will be very big some day.
The big question for 2018
The big question I have for 2018 is can we take online chess tournaments to all the countries in Africa. So far we are covering just a fraction of the continent. We have less than 15 countries on board at the moment but we want every single country to start taking part.
We want to connect Africa through the game of chess. What I have enjoyed more than the chess itself is the camaraderie, friendship and connections that have been made possible through the game of the chess. People who would not otherwise have met are able to talk for hours because they have one thing in common, their love for the game of chess.
I know this is possible and that is more than enough to keep us going.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the vision at Africa Chess Net. Thank you to the sponsors who have played a big part in the chess. Hopefully we can do this all over again in 2018 but even bigger and better for Africa.