After a successful pan-East African event in December 2015 where this author was called upon to organise the chess tournament, the Ismaili community hosted an even bigger sporting event for their sportsmen and women dubbed the Unity Games Africa this year. Held over the Easter weekend at Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, the mega event attracted 700 participants from across the continent who competed in 19 sports including chess.
The chess event was played in two sections: Under 14 and Over 14.
The Under 14 section saw 10 players from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania compete in a 5-round rapid tournament on Friday, 14th April. Due to scheduling constraints, the time control used was 15 minutes per player per game to ensure all rounds were completed during the afternoon.
Mombasa’s Furuzon Zarirovna led from the start after receiving a bye in Round 1 and beating 4 opponents in the remaining rounds to finish with 5 points. As no other player finished with 5 points too, she was declared winner.
Following Furuzon were Rayanna Natha (also from Mombasa) with 4 points and Mikail Walli from Dar es Salaam with 3 points.
- Furuzon Zarirovna (Mombasa) – 5 pts
- Rayann Natha (Mombasa) – 4 pts
- Mikail Walli (Dar es Salaam) – 3 pts
- Ayman Karim (Mombasa) – 2.5 pts
- Fayaz Mansour (Mombasa) – 2 pts
- Sameer Jetha (Mombasa) – 2 pts
- Raina Adtani (Kampala) – 2 pts
- Zianna Alidina (Dar es Salaam) – 1.5 pts
- Aliahmed Lakhani (Mombasa) – 1 pt
- Azhaar Premji (Dar es Salaam) – 0 pts
The Over 14 section saw 13 players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique compete in a 4-round rapid tournament on Sunday, 16th April. The time control for this event was a longer 25 minutes per player per game but as the tournament had to be completed in an afternoon, the number of rounds was reduced to 4.
After 4 rounds, Munir Amirali emerged clear winner with 4 points having defeated Shamsuddin, Aly, Asifali and Rashid in Rounds 1 to 4 respectively. Following him in joint second place were: Rashid Sharif, Asifali Pattani and Rahimali Hemnani all with 3 points each.
The four Kenyan players managed positions 6, 8, 9 and 10 after a dominating display from the Mozambican contingent and one Tanzanian player effectively locked them out of the prize bracket.
- Munir Amirali (Mozambique) – 4 pts
- Rashid Sharif (Tanzania) – 3 pts
- Asifali Pattani (Mozambique) – 3 pts
- Rahimali Hemnani (Mozambique) – 3 pts
- Nisha Chunara (Mozambique) – 2 pts
- Abror Alibekov (Kenya) – 2 pts
- Aly Jassani (Uganda) – 2 pts
- Sarfaraz Merali (Kenya) – 2 pts
- Ali Pirbhai (Kenya) – 2 pts
- Karim Rahemtulla (Kenya) – 2 pts
- Praful Moghal (Tanzania) – 1 pt
- Shamsuddin Panjwani (Tanzania) – 0 pts
- Sofia Chagani (Uganda) – 0 pts
The officiating team consisted of Farouk Khimji (Sports Coordinator, Aga Khan Community), Paras Gudka (Tournament Director) and Gideon Kirwa (Chief Arbiter).