It is not just about sheltering their country from peripheral bellicosity; no this is a twofold battle. On one end, it’s about announcing to the world that even in the absence of their most celebrated and decorated global chess personality, GM Amon Simutowe, they too can withstand a barrage of foreign colossi of the chess game.
But still on the other hand, if one is to check what has been swept under the carpet, it will be revealed that the competition is also within and among them (The Zambians). Herein, each of the Zambian top notch players that will take part in this international sport spectacle is much aware of the glorious moment such an event will present to showcase their individual brilliance.
The International Masters Andrew Kayonde, Chitumbo Mwali, Stanley Chumfwa, Kelvin Chumfwa, Richmond Phiri, CMs Charles Hapaku, Prince Daniel Mulenga, Musatwe Simutowe, James Dimba and Godwin Phiri are just a few talented Zambian decorated and revered chess players that will lead their countrymen and women to battle it out against such big guns as GMs Sahaj Grover (India), Abdeelrahman Hesham (Egypt), IMs David Silva (Angola), Adu Oladapo (Nigeria) and the Botswana ‘darling’ player IM Providence Oatlhotse just to mention a few international players expected for the biggest Zambian open in annals of the edition.
Poised to run from the 10th -12th of August 2018, and slated for the Government Complex in the country’s capital city and biggest urban establishment Lusaka, this jumbo event promises to flash the chess community that will follow it with unexpected turns and kinks of fate. GM Grover is no doubt a hefty favorite to walk down the nationally illustrious stairs of Government Complex with a triumphant and honorable smile on Sunday evening. But who ever imagined defending World Football Champions, Germany to hacked out of the 2018 WCC in such an inglorious manner? Or better still, who saw Croatia’s golden generation of players playing the final of such a global spectacle? All these, are the now common ‘twists of fates’ in any sport guild, of which chess is no exception.
Besides, most of the top rated players expected to enter this battle field are well abreast with such international assignments and have enough water-power to extinguish such sequential and highly theoretical tags as ‘favorite’. As such, Glover knows he better not take off his gloves fast as an unexpected punch is likely to land directly on his face to knock him out of the ring. In this event, which is likely to have the African Chess Society on its feet, they will not be any time to relax until the final whistle.
Let us briefly analyze some of chess colossus-es expected to be difficult mountains to climb for the two GMs herein tagged ‘favorites’ of the tournament:
IM Andrew Kayonde: also known as AK 47, this 1988 born chess star is always a marvel to watch. He has gained a reputation for beating GMs in such high profile battles, prompting many to earmark him as ‘Zambia’s next GM’. This tournament is another opportunity for him to reach his GM status destination and he will play it passionately and competitively.
IM Chitumbo Mwali: this former African junior chess champion and multiple Zambian national team player is one of the most famous Zambian IMs whose influence transcends Zambian borders. Dotingly known as the ‘Copper Eagle’, Chitumbo is very dangerous in these kinds of events where he proves too hard to crack by his ‘superior’ opposition who in most occasions settle for draws.
IM Oladapu Adu: this Nigerian experienced player/mentor and coach is one of the few Nigerian chess players who has not really lost touch with the game. Where others have seemingly been ‘buried’ for good by the emergence of new and talented chess wiz kids, the well continentally respected Adu continues to inspire a godly like adulation among the Nigerian golden generation of players.
IM David Silva: this Angolan wonder kid has definitely cemented his name as one of the most loved and admired African champions, having won the junior event, a record three times. He too will prove too hard to easily pass by his superior opponents. Inspired his good run at the CIV Invitational Rapid and Blitz tournament, Silva will seek to repeat the same fate by emerging triumphantly at this show down.
CM Prince Daniel Mulenga: this Zambian young star is no doubt one of the most improved chess players on the African continent. His rise to the summit of Zambian chess has been energetic and magnificent. He now has another glorious chance to not only silence his critics but to also continue establishing himself as a continental chess personality.