GM Ahmed Adly is the 2021 African Individual Chess Champion
GM Ahmed Adly confirmed his status as the ‘Simba wa Misir ‘(Lion of Egypt) when he grabbed his 4th African Individual Chess Championship title last week in Lilongwe, Malawi. His victory came when he sensationally defeated GM Bilel Bellacheneof Algeria in the last and final 9th round.
Both GM Adly Ahmed and GM Amin Bassem had 7 points each going into the final 9th round. GM Amin Bassem faced Chiletso Chipanga of Malawi in the final 9th round on board one. Chiletso Chipanga was another player who was punching above his weight. He lost the first two rounds and then won six consecutive games, which earned him a final match against the King of African Chess – GM Amin Bassem.
On the other hand, GM Adly Ahmed faced Algeria’s formidable GM Bilel Bellachene on board 2. Lurking as the dark horse of the event was another Egyptian GM Adham Fawzy, with 6.5 points, who took on Andrew Kayonde, a leading player of Zambia, on board 3.
GM Hesham Abdelrahman, also from Egypt, with six points, was on board four against IM Fy Rakotomahro of Madagascar, who had 5 points. The first to finish his game was GM Amin Bassem when he swiftly dismantled any resistance from Cheletso Chipanga, who had the black pieces.
GM Amin Bassem v Chiletso Chipanga
On the other hand, GM Ahmed Adly’s game against GM Bilel Bellachene appeared to be heading to a draw by move 55. GM Adly Ahmed, however, gradually managed to squeeze a win when GM Bilel Bellachene resigned on move number 66.
GM Bilel Bellahcene v GM Ahmed Adly
GM Adham Fawzy & GM Hesham Abedelrahman
GM Adham Fawzy won his game, and GM Hesham Abdelrahman drew his game, ensuring that the Egyptians grabbed the top four slots. These four players will represent Africa at the forthcoming 2021 World Cup in Sochi, Russia.
The event once again proves that Egypt is the dominant force in Africa chess. The Egyptian Chess Federation, which was registered in 1894, is the oldest one in Africa.
FM Joseph Mwale
FM Joseph Mwale of Malawi was another star of the event, who seemed inspired by playing on home ground. He missed the first round and then chalked up five consecutive wins! The 6th one was undoubtedly the best when he dismissed GM Bilel Bellahcene of Algeria.
Unfortunately, he lost in the 6th and 7th round against Egyptian stalwarts GM Ahmed Adly and GM Hesham Abdelrahman. In the final and 9th round, he defeated Alanrewaju Ajibola of Nigeria to end with 6 points and 5th in the ranking. A satisfactory performance indeed from Malawi’s top players.FM Joseph Mwale is also popularly known in the chess circles as ‘GM Fear‘!
Joseph Methu was the top Kenyan with an impressive 5 points out of 9 rounds and ranked 22nd in the standing. He is one of Kenya’s top players with several titles under his belt including the 2019 Tanzania Open.
Martin Njoroge had 4.5 points and ranked number 34. CMBen Magana and Brian Adorwa each had 4 points to end in the 28th & 39th position, respectively.Jackson Kamau had 3.5 points and ranked 45th.Sadam Ali who is the Kenya National Champion PLWD obtained 2.5 points in what was his first international assignment.Alfred Simuyu found the going tough and failed to win or draw any games.
Malawi Chess Federation
The Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM), led by Ms Susan Namangale, deserves praise for holding one of the most successful editions of this premier African event. A record of just over 90 participants from 17 federations took part in the event.
Interesting facts about GM Ahmed Adly
He was born in February 1987.GM Adly Ahmed is the only player from Africa to win a World Chess Championship title. He did so when he won the 2007 World Junior Chess Championship held in Yerevan, Armenia.Kenyan chess fans got a chance to meet up with GM Adly Ahmed when he won the 2019 Zone 4.2 Chess Championship held in Mombasa, Kenya.GM Ahmed Adly has now won the African Individual Chess Championship a record four times (2005, 2011, 2019 & 2021). His compatriot GM Amin Bassem on the other hand has won it five times (2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, & 2018). He has in addition won the 2001 African Junior Chess Championship held in Lusaka, Zambia. GM Ahmed Adly runs a chess academy which was set up in 2018. He was the captain of the chess team which won five gold medals and three silver medals at the 2019 All African Games held in Rabat, Morocco.