Zimbabwe’s First International Arbiter

Simbarashe Murimi is one of Zimbabwe’s longest serving Arbiters. Born on the 23rd of April 1977, Murimi had his primary education at Fungisai Primary school from 1983 -1989, and then graduated to attend Churchill boys High school, where he had his secondary education from 1990 – 1996. He finished his Ordinary Level education in 1994 before proceeding to Advanced Level from 1995 – 1996. Murimi learnt chess during his formative years and played actively during his time at Churchill Boys High school, where he played for the school’s chess club. He went into chess administration during the time of the late Charles Kuwaza, who was one of the country’s best players, as history writes it. At this time, Murimi was only nineteen (19) years of age, and he became the Tournament Director for the Zimbabwe Chess Federation (most likely the youngest in Africa) until he left in 2003.

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Picture of Simbarashe Murimi standing left behind the ACC President Lewis Ncube

His quest for the understanding of the game called chess, gave him the inspiration to be an Arbiter, he went on to write some Fide Examinations in Windhoek, Namibia and he got 97% as result from that examination. This was an excellent result and it showed that there is a bright future ahead for the young man, to be a great Arbiter. The examiner for the program was German Werner Stubenovll. After qualifying as a Fide Arbiter, Murimi was put in charge of International events like the African Individuals, which held at Namibia in 2007, Libya in 2009 and has been the Chief Arbiter of the Botswana Open from 2003 up to last year 2017. A notch was added to his arbitration when he was called on to be a part of the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany. At the Zambia closed tournament of 2015, he was a part of the arbitration team and he was also a part of the arbitration team at the African Amateur Individual Chess Championship, 2017 which was hosted in Livingstone, Zambia. He was also the Deputy Chief Arbiter at the 2017 African Schools Individual Chess Championships hosted by Zimbabwe, at the Rainbow Towers hotel sometime within August last year.

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After taking part in all the above mentioned tournaments, Murimi applied for an International Arbiters certificate, which was approved, and he is now a Fide certified International Arbiter. His love for the game of chess has brought him thus far, the passion that he has for the game has been proven to be immense. More so, he has seen a number of chess generations from the likes of Tedmore ‘Ravanelli” Mauwa, John Mangwengwende, FM Arnold Kanengoni, IM Kudzanai Mamombe, IM Robert Gwaze, IM Makoto Rodwell, IM Farai Mandizha, just to mention some of the players he has had the opportunity to relate with and see become some of the country’s best players. The award of the International Arbiter, now gives him the honour which is bestowed to a an individual who has stood out in the arbitration of the chess game.

He becomes the only Zimbabwean to have the title of an International Arbiter. This is not an easy achievement, it is a great achievement and it is hoped that Zimbabwe will soon boast of more certified International Arbiter title holders, who would improve in the arbitration of chess at the highest level in the world.

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