After the brilliance of day one, the second day of the CIV Rapid and Blitz tournament saw a shake-up, as a number of the early birds went down, some other birds stayed down, and the top spot was eventually shared by no less than three players at the end of the day. The African Champion displaced the young Madagascan, Fy Rakotomaharo, who had a day to forget. An even worse day was had by GM Slim Belkhodja and Nigeria’s IM Adu Oladapo however, as both suffered from the infamous “long-castle” or “almost never kills a bird” syndrome for the day.
Zambia’s Andrew Kayonde and GM Amin Bassem were the winners on the day, racking up five (5) points each. Bassem survived a big scare in the final round to join the day 1 leader IM El Adnani Mokliss of Morocco, who has shown the world how good he truly is, with some scintillating displays.
In partnership with Hotel Tiama, Avantiline Design Limited, Cote D’Ivoire Chess Federation and KCF Africa/Francophone, Africa Chess Media brings the second day of the CIV Invitational Rapid and Blitz Tournament to fans of the game. We report on a bloodied day that had twice as many decisive results as draws.
Round Four (4):
This round saw the wounded Grandmaster Slim Belkhodja (after three losses in day 1), trying to win his first game. He refused a draw by repetition against Uganda’s Arthur Ssegwanyi in a tricky position, only to fall like a pack of cards, when he picked up a poisoned pawn that led to the demise of his knight and effectively the game. He would have felt hard done by with this game, but credit should also go to the resourceful IM Arthur, who continued to create complications in an unbalanced game. He mentioned fascinating lines during the post-match analysis with IM David Silva.
IM Mokliss continued where he left off on the first day and played consistently to force GM Kenny Solomon into inferior moves. The South African Grandmaster was slowly cramped, and even though Mokliss almost let go of the hold when he exchanged his rook for Kenny’s bishop, he kept the initiative after a later queen exchange and eventually converted a brilliant game.
IM Adu’s knight movement to b4 on the 20th move was the blow he dealt himself, since he could have easily maintained pressure by moving the same knight to d4. Three-time African Junior Chess Champion, IM David Silva, ensured that he fully capitalized on the error and drove home the point with multiple threats against the back rank and a marching passed pawn that eventually won the game.
IM Fy had started very well but would have felt some form of harshness in his game against GM Amin Bassem. Bassem held the edge for most of the game, but was seemingly allowing a comeback before Fy trapped his own queen after placing his bishop on the only available escape diagonal. The end of the ‘Mrs’, immediately sealed the death knoll for the ‘Mr’.
The game of the round saw IM Andrew Kayonde taking on GM Mohamed Amine Haddouche, who was one of the 3 leaders at the end of day 1. In this game, moves 18 to 20 seemingly determined where the pendulum would swing. GM Haddouche had bound the 6 time Zambian National champion, and only needed the prophylactic e6 (according to their analysis after the 5th round … the game was still fresh guys). Alas, it was Kayonde that would resurrect like the Undertaker in WWF, whom you thought you had nailed to the coffin, only to see him resurrect with just one loose bolt. It was a painful loss for Haddouche, considering the hot opening he brought forth against the Zambian superman.
Round Five (5):
IM Kayonde increased the woes of GM Slim Belkhodja in round 5, with the Algerian no doubt asking himself “what in heaven’s name is wrong with me?”. How he managed to miss 29. e2!! Which would have been a killer blow to the Zambian and given the GM his first point of the tournament. Instead, he went for the seemingly natural d3, which gave Kayonde a way back into the game and eventually, the GM crumbled after noticing his error, even though he still had winning opportunities towards the end of the game.
IM Adu was left wondering how GM Bassem managed to wriggle his way out of the bind he had him in. He was not the only one as IM Fy and IM Arthur would be wondering what could have been and how they went wrong in the round, to lose such juicy positions.
The only draw of the round came when IM David Silva held the tournament leader to ransom, and forced a draw by agreement. Considering the opposite colored bishops, the black king is cut off, and white’s king is in front of the single surviving pawn of the battle. It was a battle draw that ensured a fitting end to the round.
During this round, the tournament was also honored to play host to the Nigerian High Commissioner to Cote D’Ivoire, who congratulated the organizing team and took a picture with members of the Nigerian Chess Federation at the tournament.
Round six (6):
IM David Silva and IM Arthur Ssegwanyi played to an early draw by repetition which afforded them time to rest before dinner and prepare for the final set of three rapid rounds.
IM Adu was keen to get back to winning ways, but GM Haddouche’s knight was not going to have it, and turned into a monster in the endgame to ensure that this would not happen. This piece effectively sealed the victory for the Grandmaster from Algeria.
GM Slim Belkhodja suffered the same fate against GM Kenny Solomon to remain the only player without a point after six rounds of play.
IM Mokliss must be feeling very bad that he was unable to convert a queen+pawns vs rook+pawn endgame as GM Bassem Amin set up a miracle fortress to save the draw. The time control may have played a factor, but considering the fact that this is a first for many players, they have largely handled the time quite nicely so far. As they grow accustomed to it, the use of delay may become a discussion point for tournament organizers that want total, brutal, fighting chess from start to finish.
After the rounds of the day, we were entertained by the good Dr Essoh Essis, who provided Live Music and on the way to dinner, we managed to visit an art gallery in Cote D’Ivoire and took pictures with legends in the art world, sang and were merry. In attendance were all the players except for GM Slim Belkhodja and IM David Silva. But dinner was sumptuous.
The final rounds of rapid holds today, but before then, the Minichess kids would be showing off their skills at the venue of the event, starting from 11am GMT, after receiving trainings from GM Kenny Solomon yesterday and another from IM Adu Oladapo this morning.
Follow the various platforms of chess24, Followchess and chess.com, for the games, while you are also able to watch the Live YouTube analysis of Ben Simon and GM Hungaski via the Saint Louis Scholastic platform, where Live interviews with some of the players also come in at the end of the final rounds.
Stay tuned as we bring you the full report of day three tomorrow.
And do not forget to leave a comment.