Ladies in Chess: Blitz Championship

Over the years, we have seen so much evolution in ladies chess, with so many interesting developments. Today, we share on the experience of the 2018 Africa Individual Blitz Chess Championship, which took place on the 20th of May, 2018, at the Warm Harbor hotel, Livingstone, Zambia. The Blitz tournament featured participants from seven federations including Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana with one (1) Woman Grandmaster (WGM), eight (8) Woman International Masters (WIM), one (1) Woman Fide Master (WFM), two (2) Woman Candidate Masters (WCM) and four (4) non titled players.

Notable players who entered the Blitz championship included Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Wafa Shahenda of Egypt, who had won the 2018 Africa Individual Chess Classical Championship, scooping the gold medal with a brilliant eight (8) points of nine (9), which included seven (7) wins and two (2) draws, Woman Fide Master (WFM) Mwango Lorita, Zambia’s most celebrated female player who won silver at the classical championship (and automatically gets the Woman International Master Title for her second place finish at the event), WIM Latreche Sabrina of Algeria who finished third on tie break and won bronze in the classical championship, WIM Amina Mezioud of Algeria, who finished fourth place in the classic championship, WIM Latreche Khadidja of Algeria, who finished in fifth place and WIM Caxita Esperaca of Zambia, who finished in 7th place during the classical championship.

Here is the starting rank of the Blitz championship:

ROUND 1

With a time control of five (5) minutes plus three (3) seconds increment, the championship begun without any surprises on the top board, as WIM Mezioud Amina defeated WCM Mbatha Constance on board one and WIM bothlhole Kgalalelo lost to WIM Sherif Amina. On board three (3), WIM latreche Sabrina was victorious, while on board four (4), WIM Vilhete Vania Fausto Da T lost to WGM Wafa Shahenda. WIM Latreche Khadidja picked up the win against WCM Charinda Kudzanai on board five, WFM Mwango Lorita also tasted victory against Likando Namakau on board six. The upset of the round came on board seven (7), where WIM Francis Onkemetse lost to Mary Mashane, while on board eight, Nkhoma Desiderata lost to WIM Caxita Esperaca.

ROUND 2

In round two, WIM Mezioud Amina won against WFM Mwango Lorita on board one with the black pieces, and WIM sheriff Amina, WIM Caxita Esperaca, WGM Wafa Shahenda, WCM Mbatha Constance and WCM Charinda Kudzanai drove home the points against their respective opponents with the white pieces, on boards two, three, four, six and seven, while WIM Francis Onkemetse won with the black pieces on board five.

ROUND 3

Round three saw WGM Wafa Shahenda and WIM Sherif Amina take the lead with three points each after defeating WIM Mezioud Amina and WIM Caxita Esperaca respectively with the black pieces. In the same round the Latreche sisters won their games with the white pieces while WFM Mwango and WCM Charinda Kudzanai won with the black pieces which lead to the four tying on second place with two (2) points apiece.

ROUND 4

In round four, WIM Sherif Amina claimed a draw against WGM Wafa Shahenda and still kept the leading spot, while WFM Lorita also picked up the draw against WIM Latreche Khadidja. Likando Namakau’s draw against WIM Francis Onkemetse was one of the surprise of the day, while the major upset were on board two (2) and board three (3), where WIM Caxita Esperaca (with the black pieces) and (blitz unrated) WCM Charinda Kudzanayi (with the white pieces), both defeated WIM Mezioud Amina and WIM Latreche Sabrina respectively, and putting themselves in contention.

ROUND 5

Round five was an important round for the players at the top of the standings, as it may boost them or drop them well below the pecking order. And the round saw WIM Sherif Amina take the leading spot with four and a half (4.5) points, as she defeated WCM Charinda Kudzanayi with the black pieces on board one, while WGM Wafa Shahenda held on to the second spot with four (4) points, as she drew against WIM Caxita Esperaca on board two, who took the third spot with three and a half (3.5) points. WIM Vilhete Vania Fausto Da T and WIM Latreche Sabrina won against their respective opponents to take the fourth spot with three (3) points, while WIM Francis Onkemetse defeated WIM Bothlhole Kgalalelo and Nkhoma Desiderata drew against Likando Namakau.

ROUND 6

Going into the sixth round, the leader of the tournament, WIM Sherif Amina was held to a draw by WIM Mezioud Amina on board one, which gave others the opportunity to catch up. WGM Wafa Shahenda, WIM Caxita Esperaca, WFM Mwango Lorita, Mary Mashane and WIM Bothlhole Kgalalelo all won with the white pieces, to close the gap on the leader, while WIM Latreche Khadidja was victorious with the black pieces.

ROUND 7

Round seven saw WGM Wafa Shahenda retake the lead with six (6) points as she defeated WIM Latreche Khadidja on board two, with the black pieces. WIM Caxita Esperaca waltzed into second place, as she similarly defeated WCM Mbatha Constance with the black pieces, to keep the pace with the leader, while WIM Sherif Amina would be ruing her missed opportunity to continue with the lead as she fell to WFM Mwango Lorita on board one. WCM Charinda Kudzanai won with the black pieces, while WIM Mezioud Amina and WIM Latreche Sabrina also won with the white pieces and Likando Namakau drew with WIM Bothlhole Kgalalelo.

ROUND 8

In the penultimate round eight, none of the players was able to pull a draw, as WGM Wafa Shahenda, WCM Charinda Kudzanai, WIM Sherif Amina and WIM Mezioud Amina all won with the white pieces on boards one, two, three and four defeating WIM elect Mwango Lorita, WIM Caxita Esperaca, WIM Latreche Sabrina and WIM Francis Onkemetse respectively, while WIM Latreche Khadidja, WIM Bothlhole Kgalalelo and WCM Mbatha Constance all won their games with the black pieces on boards five, six and seven respectively.

ROUND 9

The final round saw the two (2) Egyptian damsels cart away the top two prizes, as WGM Wafa Shahenda and WIM Sherif Amina pulled off wins with opposing colors on boards one and two respectively. WIM Caxita Esperaca held on to win the final round match against WIM Latreche Khadidja, to finish in third position, while WIM Mezioud Amina defeated WIM Bothlhole Kgalalelo with the black pieces to finish on the same point with Caxita, but concede the third place spot to her via tie break rules. WIM Latreche Sabrina and Mary Mashane won with the white pieces, and WCM Mbatha Constance drew against WIM WIM Francis Onkemetse. WIM elect Mwango Lorita had to settle for the last round bye after the loss in the penultimate round, which guaranteed her fifth place finish.

The Africa Individual Chess Blitz Championship ended with WGM Wafa Shahenda winning gold, WIM Sherif Amina winning silver and Caxita Esperaca winning bronze. Here is a list of the final rank after nine rounds.

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