Namibia is proud to host the 2014 Africa Individual Chess Championship (AICC) this coming weekend in Windhoek at the Safari Court and Hotel. The event has registered close to 15 African nations that will be arriving on this weekend. The competition is poised to be the continent’s most exhilarating and competitive chess event this year.
Under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation (ACC), the Namibia Chess Federation (NCF) will be showcasing Africa’s crème de la crème of chess tournaments for individuals from the 12th to the 23rd December. The federation agreed late this year to host the championship at short notice, even so the President, Otto Nakapunda was very tenacious in maintaining that the NCF will make it a success. Nakapunda motivated that the federation is very confident and in a buoyant mood to welcome some of Africa’s best chess players to Windhoek this Friday. He explained that this comes just after a fruitful hosting the Zone 4.3 Chess Championship held in the capital in June this year and will thus not be a new experience for him and the organizing team.
Players at this year’s championship will be coming to blows for a whopping 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. Apart from the cash prizes the chess masterminds will also be sweating unimaginable for the invaluable Grand Master (GM) and Women Grand Master (WGM) titles that will be awarded by the world chess body – FIDE, to the overall winner of each category.
Countries that have confirmed their participation include Sao Tome & Principe, Ghana, Libya, Namibia, Botswana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Algeria, Seychelles, and Malawi. Amongst these Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia and South African have the largest contingents and are all favorites to claim the big prizes.
Top seed players from the female section comprise of Algeria’s WIM Mezioud Amina, Egypt’s WGM Wafa Shrook and South Africa’s WIM Frick Denise. In the tightly packed open segment, Egypt’s GM Adly Ahmed, and GM El Gindy Essam and Algeria’s GM Haddouche Mohamed all lead the pack as likely winners.
The NCF employed some of country’s best players to take-part in this event with some notable absentees however. The Namibian team includes; Candidate Master (CM) McLean Handjaba, the 2013 national champion Goodwill Khoa, junior champion Immanuel Gariseb, national female champion Nicola Tjaronda, Mentile Lishen, Tjatindi Kamutuua and CM Jolly Nepando. Absentees from the Namibian lineup includes mainly veteran players in likes of Swiss based 2014 National Champion, Leonard Mueller, Sanders Oberholzer, Simon Shidolo and Max Nitzborn. One of the players, Immanuel Gariseb is currently taking part in the African Junior Championship being held in Angola and is said to return in-form to compete by the start of Round 1 on Saturday.
National chess coach, Charles Eichab clarified however that the youthful male and female players nominated to compete have been training hard and should attain good results and very good FIDE ratings from this tournament.