FM Harold Wanyama a grabs bronze medal at the African Games
FM Harold Wanyama of Uganda put an amazing display of his chess prowess when he grabbed a bronze medal at the African Games last month. What is even more commendable is that this event had some of Africa’s best players taking part.
The 12th edition of the African Games took place in Morocco from 23rd to 31st August 2019.
The format was changed slightly to cater for much tighter budgetary circumstances. This did not dampen the mood as 20 African teams competed in the chess events.
Instead of having separate teams for the Open and the Ladies, the event was a combined one. Each side had four members and included two men and two ladies.
A Rapid and Blitz event took place as well.
The African Games were previously known as the All-Africa Games or Pan African Games.
The continental event has been held every four years since 1965, with exceptions during the 70s and 80s.
Chess has only featured in 3 earlier edition of these games and includes the following;
Abuja, Nigeria 2003
Algeries, Algeria 2007
Maputo, Mozambique 2011
The 2015 edition in Brazzaville, Congo did not include chess.
Most of this year’s competitions took place in Rabat. However, the chess events took place in Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco.
Five contests spread out in a five-day schedule from the 24th until the 28th of August took place:
- A nine-round mixed team event, with four players per squad (two men and two women). Time control: 15 minutes for the game plus 10-second increments per move.
- Two individual nine-round individual rapid tournaments (open and women’s categories), with the same time control (15’+10″).
- Two individual nine-round individual blitz tournaments (open and women’s), with a time control of 3’+2″.
Egypt took home all five gold medals and three out of the four silver medals that were still up for grabs.
Mehul Gohil, Ricky Sang, WCM Joyce Nyaruai and Sasha Mongeli represented Kenya. Team Kenya ended up in 14th place out of 20 teams. They obtained a total of 8 points from 3 wins and two draws.
The highlight was when Kenya held the highly fancied Zambia to a 2-2 draw.
Egypt won the gold and Algeria the silver medal. Zimbabwe played well to grab the bronze to prevent a North Africa sweep.
Mehul Gohil ended up with 4.5 points in 26th position out of 48 players. Ricky Sang ended with 4 points in 33rd position.
The Kenyan ladies fared much better. Sasha Mongeli obtained an impressive 5.5 points to end in 11th place. WCM Joyce Nyaruai finished with 5 points and 13th in ranking out of 42 players
GM Ahmed Adly was the winner with an impressive 8½ points out of 9 rounds. GM Bassem Amin finished a half-point behind, after drawing with third seed GM Hicham Hamdouchi.
The loudest cheer from East Africa came when FM Harold Wanyama of Uganda won the bronze medal. A truly proud moment for Uganda.
FM Harold Wanyama (2237) was in devastating form. He defeated GM Hicham Hamdouchi (2575) and IM Rodwell Makoto (2405). He then drew against IM Adlane Arab (2434), IM Andrew Kayonde (2312) and GM Bilel Bellahcene (2473).
FM Harold Wanyama also held a dangerous initiative in his game against eventual winner GM Adly. See the game below.
WGM Shrook Wafa finished tied on 7/9 with Zambian WFM Lorita Mwango but got the gold medal thanks to her better Buchholz score.
WIM Sabrina Latreche of Algeria was 3rd to grab a bronze medal for her county.
Mehul Gohil and Ricky Sang ended up with 4 points each in 29th and 30th position respectively.
WCM Joyce Nyaruai obtained 5 points to end up in 12th position out of 39 players. Sasha Mongeli got 4 points to end up in 26th position.
GM Bassem Amin scored a perfect 9/9, leaving GM Ahmed Adly in sole second place trailing by 1½ points. Algerian GM Bilel Bellahcene finished in third place with 6½ out of 9.
WGM Shrook Wafa got her third gold in the individual blitz event with 8 points. WGM Shahenda Wafa was half-point behind with 7.5 points to get the silver medal. WIM Nassr Lina of Algeria managed to grab the bronze medal as she finished sole third with 7 points.
It is noteworthy to point out that FIDE came out in full support of this event. Most of the FIDE top brass were in attendance. These included FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE Executive Director Victor Bologan and FIDE International Director Mohd Al-Mudahka, and Advisor to the FIDE President Berik Balgabaev.
It was, after all, Africa’s most prestigious event with most of the top players from the continent. It was most unfortunate that South Africa which has some of the continent’s top players missed the event. Other strong nations that missed the event were Sudan and South Sudan.
Final medal standing
Kenya ended up with eleven gold, ten silver and ten bronze medals to end up in 7th in the medal standing. Egypt was top with 102 gold, 98 silver and 73 bronze medals!