Interview with Tinashe Tafira, chess coach and web designer

Tinashe Tafira with Susan Polgar

Your Name:
Tinashe Tafira

Company/ Name of Business:
Cross Process Engineering/ Bishop Bavin School

What do you do [profession]?
Web Designer/ Chess Coach

When did you start playing chess and how did you do playing?
When I was 10 years, I played for fun but always wanted to outsmart the other kids. Some kids from the local club in Harare, Glen Norah Gunners seemed to play better than I did. When I was 12 years, I stumbled on a chess book from School library at the boarding house.
Chess For Tomorrow’s Champions- JN Walker.
That book book made me a 1700 player, incredible isn’t it but its true. I won 1st prize the first time I played at , Glen Norah Gunners chess tournament. I stopped playing chess to focus on my school studies but my sparring chess partner Robert Gwaze continued making efforts and eventually becoming Africa Junior Champion and Africa Champion.

What do you regard as your 3 greatest achievements in chess.
Zimbabwe Chess Team, All African Games, Abuja Nigeria.
Won Zimbabwean Easter Open Tournament as a teenager ahead of local masters. I won against Fide Master Dr Arnold Kanengoni in the final round on board 1, with black pieces.
A draw against Indian Grandmaster Rajaram R Laxman at the Common Wealth Games in South Africa.

Who is your favourite chess player and why?
Paul Morphy and his astounding sacrifices. He had a great sense of the initiative.
If there is one word that describe my chess style is that word Initiative.

Name 2 chess players you admire in Africa and why?
IM Kudzanayi Mamombe the 1st International Chess Master in Sub-Saharan Africa.
GM Amon Simutowe the 1st International Chess Grandmaster in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What do you think is the right age to start playing chess and why?
Age is a relative thing; it depends on the maturity of the child.
I think about 7 years is best age to introduce the chess patterns to a child.

Do you still take part in tournaments and if so, how often?
As often as I can. I always have a point or two to prove to fellow chess players.

Why would you encourage anyone to take up chess?
I don’t know if I would do that. I have a love-hate relationship with chess.
Chess is neither good nor bad. It’s black and white. Light and darkness. It can strengthen a mind but it can also unbalance a mind. Many a soul has been lost in its intricacies. Both Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy became a little insane because of chess. Some of our local masters are a little crazy as well. But on the bright side of the pendulum we have good examples of cause. But I would definitely promote the game and make it accessible to those want to try it but not under compulsion.

In your opinion should Chess be made an Olympic sport and why?
I believe Chess is already an Olympic sport but it is held separate from the rest of the Olympic games. There is a Chess Olympiad every 2 years. The Olympic games are held every 4 years. The World Chess Federation, FIDE is the 3rd largest sporting body in the world behind the Olympic Committee and FIFA, the World Soccer Body. There are at present 158 member federations of FIDE, including 142 UN member states and 16 other entities.

How would you best describe your chess style?
I consider “Chess, first of all, as Art.” I have an attacking and imaginative style of play. My approach over the board is pragmatic.
I often make intuitive material sacrifices in search of initiative.

How do you keep sharp in chess?
I coach chess to school children and I play at my chess club and play at local chess tournaments.

How would you like to be remembered as a chess player?
As a revealer of chess secrets and a contributor to chess theory.

What do you think about the impact of computers of chess in Africa? 
They aid in accelerating the growth of chess activities on the continent.

What do you think it will take for Africa to have a world chess champion?
At the present moment it will take a very talented player to move to Europe and develop his talents there. Amon Simutowe made a decent effort and Kenny Solomon made some reasonable progress towards the chess Olympus. It happened in soccer, Liberian George Weah, FIFA World Player of the Year 1995. He spent 14 years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England.

tin tin3

One comment

  1. wow well said Tinashe,nd yes u r a role model 2 many.I enjoyd watchng the chess tournament which was held here in CPT UCT last year.keep on going and inspire our little ones.cud a person at my age 27 could start playng chess and neva attempted bfore?

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