You are at the centre of the Chess Universe with the top 128 chess players in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan. The only persons missing are current World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand.
This event gives you a crack to be the challenger to the 2016 World Chess Championship against none other than “The King” GM Magnus Carlsen.
It is a knock out with the best of 2 games and you are paired against the 6th highest ranked player in the world, 4 time Dutch Champion born in St Petersburg, Russia where former World Champion Boris Spassky was born. He speaks 6 languages and has his own website.
You are cautious but not afraid and you are one of the best from the “Pearl of Africa” also known as Uganda. You are our own IM Arthur Ssegwanyi (2357) pitted against the formidable GM Anish Giri (2793) in the 2015 Chess World Cup being held in Baku. This is your moment.
The stage was set last weekend and chess players in Uganda, Kenya and I am sure in the rest of Africa were watching very keenly the Arthur Sswegwanyi v Anish Giri match. Arthur played the game of his life and held Anish to a 158 move draw and was one of the last games to finish. Facebook was abuzz with this game where Arthur put up a stiff fight to earn his much deserved half point.
|Arthur Sswegwanyi playing for Equity Bank in the Kenya National League|
|Arthur Sswegwanyi in another shot while in Nairobi|
Unfortunately my favorite site www.chessbase.com did not cover the story but our ever dependable www.thechessdrum.netfeatured the story on Arthur’s fine performance.
Unfortunately the 2nd game ended in a decisive result in favour of Anish which meant that Arthur would have to come home – but he will return as a true hero and a real “Son of the Soil”.
I know Arthur is not Kenyan and you readers must be wondering why I have I put up a story on him. Many of you will not know that Arthur Sswegwanyi is a regular visitor to Nairobi and has a huge fan base in Kenya. He was last here a few weeks ago when he came to play for his Kenyan club Equity Bank during the ongoing 2015-16 Kenya National League. You will see another story on this blog about Equity Bank and how they imported players from Uganda to play for them.
I have some photos of Arthur and will share them with you but unfortunately I do not have any of Anish. I was a bit embarrassed to ask my buddy famous chess photograph David Llada for some photos and decided to use what the ancient cave dweller would do. I drew Anish (well traced) and share the drawing with you! The best thing to do is to visit Anish Giri’s website – www.anishgiri.nl for more photo and information on him.
|Anish Giri – 4 times Dutch Champion|
Africa had 5 other players in this event. There was GM Amin Bassem & GM Ahmed Adly from Egypt, Richard Phiri from Zambia, Amir Zaibi from Tunisia & Adu Oladapo from Nigeria. Unfortunately only GM Amin Bassem from Egypt managed to get through Rd 1 and move to Rd 2. The losers of Rd 1 each go home with USD 6,000 (or USD 4,800 net of 20% FIDE taxes).
Why FIDE has a 20% tax rate is a mystery to me. I wonder if you are allowed to off-set this tax deducted by FIDE in your own tax return. I highly doubt it as the amount is really not paid to a sovereign government. Sorry I am talking accounting nonsense now.
NB – I was fortunate in the end as Susan Polgar gave me the green light to use photos from her blog. Susan “Asante sana” as they say in Kiswahili. Check out Susan’s blog for more fine photos – https://chessdailynews.com/baku-world-cup-results-games-and-photos/
|Gladiators locked in combat|
|Before the start|
|The Ugandan flag is clearly visible.|