Chess is relatively new on the continent of Africa as compared to the other continents around the globe.
Did you know? That the first Africa Chess Championship has only been as recent as 1998!? But over the few years with which we have played chess in Africa, as if announcing to the world that Africa is also capable of understanding the royal game, Africa chess has produced some unique achievements.
Below are the some of the top Africa chess record holders. At this point, let me confess, that there are still some chess avenues, that as a continent, we haven’t broken into just yet. For example, no African has yet gone through the second round of the Chess World Cup and get to the third round of the event. It is our hope, that this write up will motivate African players, sponsors, administrators etc, to work towards the extraordinary and build a platform for some brilliant fighting chess. If you do something extraordinary in Africa chess, we will not hesitate to add you up in this dean’s list. Also, if you feel some unique achievement has been left out, do feel free to contact our editors, and we will do justice to such.
[11) Tiwone Mdina : Tiwone Mdina and Mdina Engineering Company went down in history to be the first African chess sponsor to flight a chess Bill board in an African city for close to six (6) months. With the words “Mdina Engineerinng and Mdina Chess, Les Meilleurs…a gift to Malawi’s Chess” easily readable on the imposing bill board, the artwork is being rotated in different strategic places in Blantyre, the commercial city of Malawi in readiness for the 2018 Mdina Malawi Open. Mdina Enginnering is a big Engineering firm in South Africa, which, among other things, trade in road construction.
(10) Mukubulo Chilufya: In 2017, the great Zambian chess sponsor managed to assemble a unique strong field of GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt, GM Petr Kiriakov of Russia, GM Gupta Abhijeet of India, GM Greenfeld Alon of Israel, IM Aurther Ssegwanyi of Uganda, IM Chitumbo Mwali of Zambia, IM Richmond Phiri of Zambia, IM Gillian Bwalya of Zambia, IM Stanley Chumfwa of Zambia and FM Harold Wanyama of Uganda. The Henry Chilufya Memorial Tournament was dubbed “The strongest tournament in Africa”, and it was also a Grandmaster Norm event. Mukubulo Chilufya owns businesses in Zambia, which includes lodges. He is based in Lusaka.
(9) Andrew Kayonde “a.k.a AK 47”: How a full time busy professional in the Zambian banking sector, is able to dominate the tough Zambian chess, loaded with high titled and respectable untitled players, is yet to be understood by many. His recent achievement tallies his Zambian Championship triumph to six (6). He first won the championship in 2008, and then, he won it consecutively from 2012 till date. He works as a financial analyst at The New Finance Bank, which is a very busy and delicate job to do. But Kayonde attributes his success to good time management and God’s guidance. He is famous for his words “I want to be the strongest black Grandmaster”!
(8) Joseph Mwale: He was champion for Malawi at the record age of thirteen (13) years, the youngest ever for an African country. The other player closest to breaking this record was Namibian champion Dante Beukes, who became Namibian Champion at age fourteen (14) years. Popularly Known as “The Fear”, Mwale now lives and works as a chess coach in Durban, South Africa, from where he also travels to various tournaments, and has won numerous events to his credit.
(7) Daniel Jere: Ahead of all Sports men in Zambia, Daniel Jere became the Zambian Sportsman of the year in 2012 after a year filled with huge achievements. However, it shows that he was following the footsteps of Grandmaster Amon Simutowe, who had won the crown twelve (12) years earlier, in the year 2000. Jere now lives and works as a chess trainer for Kasparov Chess Foundation in South Africa, from where he also participates in tournaments.
(6) IM Odion Aikhoje – Megamind: as he is popularly called by chess players in Nigeria, has been known to be the biggest natural chess talent to come out of the shores of Nigeria. The Nigerian chess ace was Board 2 Gold Medalist at the Elista Olympiad in 1998. His other chess achievements include, winning Gold medal at the Abuja All Africa games in 2003, and being Nigeria National Champion at various stages of his career. The Ibadan based chess star, is also said to be a very good sports administrator, and was at some point, an executive member of Nigeria Chess Federation, as the players’ representative. He currently works as a media producer and radio presenter at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
(4). GM Amon Simutowe – “The Zambezi Shark”: How, without the aid of a coach, he managed to reach great chess heights is a mystery. Simutowe defied all odds to become the first chess Grandmaster from Sub Saharan Africa, in 2007. He also won the Zambian Sportsman of the year in 2000, overshadowing even the great footballer Kalusha Bwalya, who was still playing football at Club America in Mexico at the time. Amon now lives and works as a Banker in the USA. He is an inspiration to many Zambian young players and always a joy to see him play.
(4) WGM Mona Khaled: At the age of eleven (11), in 2005, the Egyptian Woman Grandmaster was both the Arabian and the African Girls Junior Champion, in the under-20 category. The fierce, beauty with brains has won the Africa Women’s Chess Championship the most number of times, three (3) times, together with another brilliant Egyptian lady, Shrook Wafa.
(3) IM Robert Gwaze: He was an Olympian Board 1 Gold Medalist with a stunning 9/9, at the 2002 Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. An achievement that caused former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, to make the comic comment: “These Africans from Honduras have come to get our medals”. Apart from this achievement, he won the Zimbabwe National Championship at the age of 15, and Africa Junior Championship in 1998, he has also won the Africa Individual Chess Championship. Gwaze is currently based in Namibia, and is working his way back into the chess scene.
(2) GM Ahmed Adly: The Egyptian Grandmaster was World Junior Champion in 2007, in the midst of players like GM Wang Hao of China, GM Ivan Popov of Russia, GM Dmitri Andreikin of Russia and of course GM Amin Bassem of Egypt. His other achievements includes victories at the Africa Individual Chess Championship in 2005 and 2011. He has also won a number of high profile international events, such as The International Open Bavarian Championship, where he started with 6/6 points in a nine (9) round tournament. And he is currently within the top fifty (50) Blitz players in the world, even though he is a few points shy of entering the top hundred (100) chess players in the world.
(1) GM Amin Baseem: The first African to cross the 2700 rating barrier in 2017, holds 2 high titles of a Medical Doctor and Grandmaster, along with the title of being a husband. He is the only African among the world’s top 100 chess players and currently in the top fifty (50) blitz players in the world. He has won numerous tournaments, including Africa Individual Chess Championship, for a record four (4) times and he is considered Africa’s greatest chess achiever of all time. He also participated at the prestigious Tata Steel Wijk Aan Zee Tournament in January, and has also been invited for the amazing Sharjah Masters tournament.
Who is the Amazing personality you would like to include in this list, kindly use our comments box to let the world know.