Home Chess News 2021 African Individual Chess Championship Report

2021 African Individual Chess Championship Report

246
SHARE

2021 African Individual Chess Championship Report

The 2021 African Individual Chess Championship has been a delight for fans in Africa and beyond with a fair amount of thrills and spills.

The charming Khady Niang of Senegal poses in front of the poster for the 2021 African Individual Chess Championship.
The charming Khady Niang of Senegal poses in front of the poster for the 2021 African Individual Chess Championship.

Almost all of Africa’s best players have converged in the capital city Lilongwe in Malawi for the event. A record of 17 federations are present, making this edition indeed the best attended one in years.

The event runs from 18th to 28th May 2021, and the top four players will each get a slot at the 2021 World Cup, which is taking place in Sochi, Russia.  Moreover a hefty cash prize of USD 24,000 (Open – USD 16,500 & Ladies – USD 7,500) is up for grabs.

Leading the pack of players is Dr Amin Bassem of Egypt, who is Africa’s top-ranked player with a dizzy 2701 Elo rating. The Open section has four other Grandmasters taking part. These include GM Bilel Bellhcene of Algeria, three Egyptians, GM Adly Ahmed, GM Adham Fawzy and GM Hesham Abdelrahman.

Other top players who are clearly looking to upset the domination of the North Africans include IM Dante Beukes of Namibia, IM Fy Rakotomaharo of Madagascar and IM Gillan Bwalya of Zambia.

View of the playing hall of the 2021 African Individual Chess Championship.
View of the playing hall of the 2021 African Individual Chess Championship.

In round three, the first significant upset came about when IM Dante Beukes held GM Bilel Bellahcene to a draw. IM Dante Beukes had the advantage for most of the game but failed to convert it to a win.

GM Bilel Bellahcene v IM Dante Beukes

FM Patrick Kawuma of Uganda. Punching above his weight!
FM Patrick Kawuma of Uganda. Punching above his weight!

In another thrilling encounter in round three, FM Patrick Kawuma held top seed GM Amin Bassem to a draw in spite of having a 370 Elo rating points difference!

GM Amin Bassem v FM Patrick Kawuma

In round four, FM Patrick Kawuma was again punching above his weight when he held GM Bilel Bellahcene to another draw.

FM Patrick Kawuma v GM Bilel Bellahcene

Team Kenya

Kenyan players found the going tough in the Open section. CM Ben Magana went down to Liberian National Champion Thomas Saah in round two.

CM Ben Magana of Kenya.
CM Ben Magana of Kenya.

Joseph Methu, was the top Kenyan in the Open section at the end of round 5, with 3 points.

Joseph Methu of Kenya.
Joseph Methu of Kenya.

WCM Joyce Nyaruai, playing in the Ladies Section on the other hand, also had 3 points at the end of round 5.

WFM Joyce Nyaruai of Kenya.
WFM Joyce Nyaruai of Kenya.

Team Egypt

It will be interesting to see if anyone can stop the Egyptian from grabbing all the available medals on offer at the 2021  African Individual Chess Championship . Egypt has won the Open section of this event a record 11 times out of 16 editions.

In addition, Egypt has won the Ladies section a record eight times out of 12 editions.

Ladies Section

The Ladies Section of the 2021 African Individual Chess Championship had its fair share of upsets as well. WGM Wafa Shahenda of Egypt, the top-ranked player, was held to a draw by 15 year Naledi Marape of Botswana.

15 year old Naledi Marape of Botswana.
15 year old Naledi Marape of Botswana.
WGM Wafa Shahenda v Naledi Marape

Rest day

The event, like all international ones, had an off day on 22nd May 2021. The organisers took the players to the picturesque and popular tourist destination Lake Malawi.

Lake Malawi one of the tourist attractions.
Lake Malawi one of the tourist attractions.
Chess players who are supposed to take a break from chess on the Rest Day end up playing chess to relax!
Chess players who are supposed to take a break from chess on the Rest Day end up playing chess to relax!

All photos in this report are by Makhosi Nyirenda of the Malawi Chess Federation.

Links

2021 African Individual Chess Championship – Report 1

2016 African Individual Chess Championship.

GM Adly Ahmed wins 2019 African Individual Chess Championship.

GM Bassem Amin wins 2018 African Individual Chess Championship.

GM Bassem Amin wins 2017 African Individual Chess Championship.

CM Chimthere is 2020 Malawi National Champion.