South Africa’s Chess International Master (IM) Kenny Solomon won the 2014 Africa Individual Chess Championship (AICC) which was held in Windhoek Namibia from 13 December to 22 December 2014. Kenny Solomon proved his mettle and resilience in a very strong field which was featuring some of the top players on the continent including the top seed Grandmaster GM Adly Ahmed from Egypt. Solomon finished with 7 points out of a possible 9, the same as GM Ahmed. However, Solomon wins on tie-break which was the result between the two in their game.
This tournament victory means that Kenny Solomon
is now a Grandmaster as well. So it’s no longer IM Kenny Solomon but GM-Elect Kenny Solomon remains a GM-elect. Prior to the tournament Solomon had 3 GM norms. He has been knocking on the door to become a grandmaster for a while now and showed incredible determination and resolve in Namibia. In the last round Solomon was up against seasoned player Stanley Chumfwa of Zambia. Solomon could have been forgiven for going for a draw. Draws in the last rounds of big tournaments are not unusual as there is so much on the line but Solomon took his chances and he has been duly rewarded.
Solomon was the only player to go through the whole tournament undefeated which an incredible feat was given the high calibre of players at the tournament. He beat both Egyptian players who between them accounted for most of the field in the tournament.
Until this tournament the only other Grandmaster in Sub-Sahara was Amon Simutowe from Zambia. Now South Africa has got its very own and this will no doubt inspire many youngsters in chess and show that all things are possible.
The Chief Arbiter for the event was International Arbiter (IA) Gunther van den Bergh of South Africa who was ably supported by FIDE Arbiters Simbarashe Murimi Zimbabwe, FA El-Shaddai Aluteni (Namibia) (15200469) and Webster Muyabi (Zambia). The time controls for the games were 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and then 30 minutes and 30 second increment per move.
The countries that were represented at the tournament include Sao Tome & Principe, Ghana, Libya, Namibia, Botswana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Algeria, Seychelles, Malawi, Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa.
The prize fund for the tournament was US$27 500 (N$315 975.00) total cash prize for the top 8 in the open section and top 7 in the female section.
Here are the final rankings of the tournament.
You can also find more information about the tournament on http://www.chess-results.com/tnr154093.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984
Update: Unfortunately there is still no Grandmaster title without an outright win. Both Kenny Solomon and GM Ahmed Adly finish on 7 points. An outright first place win was required for awarding of the Grandmaster title at AICC.
Update (24-12-2014) : Kenny Solomon has been awarded the title of Grandmaster. Chief Arbiter Gunther Van der Berg relayed the news via Facebook. Below is a pic of the post.