Kabwe Timothy of Zambia who was the highest rated player at the Harare Chess Association (HCA) Afristeel Chess Open, which held at Cresta Jameson Hotel, from the 30th of June to July 1st, 2018. The Zambian’s rating was ELO 2169 at the time of taking part in this tournament, and he finished with a resounding six and a half (6.5) points of the seven (7) games that was played.
Among the opponents he defeated were Tapiwa Jele of Nkulumane Chess Club, based in Bulawayo, in a game which it is widely believed that Tapiwa could have done much better than he ended up doing, but kudos must go to the Zambian who was a man on a mission at this tournament.
Zhemba and Spencer ’Spoon’ Masango drew their game in round six (6), which was expected to be full of very interesting results. The game swung like a pendulum and “Spoon” defended very well to earn a well-deserved draw.
Another interesting game was the last round pairing, which featured the two Tapiwas in Jele and Chikwavaire. The game looked like a draw, alas, Jele was to pull a trigger to gain an isolated pawn, which Chikwavaire had left unattended to. His position became broken, as he was unable to contain Jele’s marching pawns. Mwadzura Roy is another player who failed to handle a good position against Timothy Kabwe in a seemingly balanced game. He was swindled in a very tight end game, which showed the brilliant prowess of the young mind called Timothy Kabwe.
Kabwe was paired against Spencer Masango, who had the white pieces and they agreed to a draw after a three (3) fold repetition, leaving Jele as the sole leader with a perfect five (5) points from five (5) games, while the chasing pack were on four and a half (4.5) points after five (5) games. Timothy Kabwe was then paired against Tapiwa Jele in round six (6) and he had to do the job of stopping the young player from Bulawayo. Tapiwa dominated throughout the game, but let the advantage slip through his fingers. He lost the game in a frenzied blitz endgame to Kabwe, which was a pulsating and tightly contested game. This was after Jele had showed his magic, just after Tapiwa had defeated Zhemba Zhemusse, who is the current National Champion, in another thriller of a game, where Tapiwa had two passed pawns, a Bishop and a Rook, while Zhemba had two Rooks that failed to be equal to the task, as the passed pawns marched all the way to ensure victory, but his lead was cut short, after he suffered defeat in a seemingly good position, which he was unable to convert, and had to bow to the superiority of Timothy Kabwe. This win led Kabwe back to the top of the table, since there was no winner between Masango and Zhemba in their game on board two (2), which ended in a draw.
Timothy Kabwe was then paired against Mugove Muririma of Zimbabwe in the final round of the tournament. The game was in Kabwe’s favor, and he won the game to finish the tournament with six and a half (6.5) points of seven (7) game. While Masango Spencer and Jele Tapiwa were tied on second position with six (6) points from seven (7) games.
Spencer had a superior Bucholtz point and he ended second on tie break, while Jele Tapiwa was placed on third position. Both Spencer Masango and Tapiwa Jele were the best Zimbabwean players at the tournament.
Zhemba followed them on fourth position together with Roy Mwadzura, as they scored five and a half (5.5) points respectively. Zhemba survived a scare from Syter Mativenga, who failed to convert or even hold on for a draw, when he had a Bishop and a Rook against Zhemba’s two passed pawns and a Rook. Fate favored Zhemba at the tournament, considering the fact that he won a game on time, where he was totally lost and was just two moves away from checkmate, against Elisha Chimbamu, who had a bad tournament, with a lot of time trouble in his games.
There were nine (9) players who were tied on the sixth position with five (5) points. These were: Mugove Muririma, Dr. Rickie Malaba, Maketo Albert, Nsakanya Chanda from Zambia, Sibanda Castro of Bulawayo, Chikwavaire Tapiwa, Murasiranwa Blessing of University Of Zimbabwe, student Doctor, Elisha Thabo and Chinhanga Tinashe, who also escaped from the jaws of defeat from Elisha, when he sacrificed his Queen, to save the King from a mating net.
The tournament was governed by International Arbiter Simbabrashe Murimi, and he was assisted by the following Arbiters: Gift Bwalya of Zambia, Moses Mutipforo- FA –Elect, James Vhezha-FA-Elect, Jarmeel Ndoro- FA-Elect and Walter Mukundwa-FA-Elect. The games went on smoothly under good and hospitable conditions of best FIDE rated tournament conditions. A total of seventy-four players took part in this tournament and no less than fifteen (15) players went home with a prize.
A word of thanks to the sponsor, Afristeel, for sponsoring all the prizes for this event.