Ilyass Msellek crowned King of Zone 4.1
Msellek Ilyass of Morocco is the winner of the 2022 Zone 4.1 Individual Chess Championship. He obtained 7.5 points out of 9 rounds in Tunisia to go home with USD 1,500.
Ben Ghanem Hamed of Tunisia was second with 6.5 points. FM Sadek Sameh of Egypt ended with 6.5 points but was third due to a lower tie-break.
Ilyass Msellek , who resides in France, was the highest-ranked player in the event at 2411. In Morocco, he ranked number two behind GM Hicham Hamdouchi, rated 2536.
Ilyass Msellek will earn his IM title by winning the event and having met the minimum 2200 rating threshold. In addition, he will receive an air ticket and free accommodation to participate in the 2022 Sharjah Challenger Chess Championship.
The event held at Hotel Rosa Beach Hotel, in Monastir a city 180 kms south of Tunis, ran from 13t to 19th March 2022. Fourteen players from all the six federations that make up Zone 4.1 took part. The countries include Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and host Tunisia.
Ilyass Msellek v Hamed Ben Ghanem
Sameh Sadek v Ilyass Msellek
All photo credits from in this section from IA Adnane Nesla.
Chess facts about Tunisia
Tunisia has just over 3,400 players registered with FIDE.
The country boasts of 3 Grandmasters, including GM Slim Bouaziz, GM Slim Belkhodja and GM Amir Zaibi.
72-year-old GM Slim Bouaziz became a Grandmaster in 1993 and was the first African player to receive the title. He has represented Tunisia in 16 Olympiads (1966-1970, 1974, 1978–1986, 1990–1996, 2000, 2004–2006). Slim Bouaziz has participated five times in Interzonal Tournaments of the World Chess Championships. He is also a twelve-time champion of Tunisia!
Tunisia has participated in 24 editions of the Chess Olympiad from 1958! They only missed out on 1964, 1976, 1988, 1988 and 2010 editions.
The Ladies’ team, on the other hand, attended the first Olympiad in 2002 and have taken part in five editions.
The Tunisian Chess Federation was registered in 1957 and joined FIDE a year later.
Nabil Doghri is the President of the Tunisian Chess Federation.
Facts about Tunisia
Phoenicians (from present-day Lebanon) settled as early as 1100 BC along the north coast.
The Phoenicians built their city Carthage into a mighty city-state around 480BC. The Romans defeated Carthage in 146 BC and ruled in the area for over 800 years.
Arabs conquered the region in about 600 AD before the Ottoman came to rule, and from 900 AD, Berbers settled in the area.
Tunisia became a colony of France in 1881 and became a French protectorate in 1883. The country became independent in 1956, after the abolishment of the monarchy.
Before the country of Tunisia was created, the area was called ‘Ifriquiya‘ or Africa.
El Djem is the 3rd most significant Roman ruin in the world. It is almost as big as the Colosseum in Rome.
Matmata is a place in Tunisia where people live in underground houses.
Kairouan, in Tunisia, is the fourth most important city in Islam after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.
Tunis is the capital city of Tunisia.
Although jasmine was not native to Tunisia, it became Tunisia’s national flower.
George Stravelakis, sometimes called ‘Halkias,’ was an enslaved Greek man from the island of Chios who rose to become the Prime Minister of Tunisia in the 1860s. His Muslim name was Mustapha Khaznadar.