Spoiled with the prestige of being the first sub-Saharan African country to produce a grandmaster, Zambians have often asked too much from themselves. They have always hoped for the best chess can offer, no wonder the presence of their athletes and officials is felt in tournaments across the continent. But you will never really know how tough they really are until you visit them in their den, The Zambia Open Chess Championship of which somebody said: “Nobody walks out alive “. This year the Zambia Open Chess Championship is being sponsored by their new Chess President Mukubulo Chilufya who, despite being only a few month old at the helm of the Zambia Chess Federation, is being hailed as the savior of Zambia chess..
Daggers will be drawn from this Friday 10th August to the 13th of August 2018 at Continental Hotel in Lusaka City.
With a lucrative prize pool of around $1600, the 2018 Zambian Open Chess Championship has attracted a buzz of interest from across the continent, and even far off over- seas lands.
Like voyagers in quest for gold, 2 Grandmasters, Grover Sahaj from India and Hesham Abdelrahman from Egypt will also try their luck in the rich event. But they are going to be opposed by the notorious Zambian “Express” of IM Copper Eagle Chitumbo Mwali, IM Andrew Kayonde, IM Gillian Bwalya, IM Stanley Chumfwa, IM Richmond Phiri, IM Kelvin Chumfwa, Prince Daniel Mulenga etc. who have all vowed to defend their territorial grounds from foreign aggression.
Other foreign players that will be eyeing gold are IM Providence Oatlhotse from Botswana, David da Silva from Angola, IM Adu Oladapo of Nigeria, Spensor Masango of Zimbabwe who will make the Zambians only wish their grandmaster Amon Simutowe was there. This talented chess player does not leave anything for these players. The top 7 winners of the open category will walk away with $3000, $2500, $2000, $1500, $1000, $500, $300 respectively, while positions 8 to 10 will get $200 dollars consolation prizes each.
The ladies section will be stormed by the likes of Zambian national team players Linda Hamoonga, Constance Mbata, Malawi’s international Daisy Nkhoma, Botswana national team player Kgomotso Ndachipiwa etc. who are all enjoying a rich vein of form in their countries. The top winners of the ladies category will walk away with$1500, $1000, $700, $500, $300 respectively, while positions 6 to 10 will walk away with $100 consolation prizes
Another section that will be entertaining is the Madala Section of people of 50 years and above. Zambian old timers, most of them now busy professionals and businessmen, who used to play chess in the 1980s and 90s, will rekindle their old board rivalries. This is their chance to demonstrate what they claim they are capable of when they show up to watch tournaments. Winners of the Madala section will get $1000,$700, $500,$300 respectively.
The best over 45 years will get $300 , 2nd best $200 ,while the best under 16 boys and girls will get $50 each.
Zambia’s General Secretary Chanda Nsakanya said he expects a thrilling tournament and also hopes the event will unearth hidden talent.