In the 1st quarter of the year, it was written by Kenya Chess Masala‘s Kim Bhari, that Fide would now add a new zone to the continent, to increase the zones in Africa to five (5), and everyone in Africa have been on the look out to when this would eventually materialize.
June 1, 2019, marks the official flag off of the new zoning for countries in Africa, and this would see some serious changes being made to the each of the zones, with the northern countries securing zone 4.1, the western countries moved to zone 4.2, the middle belt countries put together for zone 4.3, the eastern countries charged with the zone 4.4 and the southern countries bear the new zone 4.5 name.
Countries by New Zones:
Zone 4.1 – Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt
Zone 4.2 – Cape Verde, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Nigeria, *Niger, *Benin, *Guinea, *Guinea Bissau
Zone 4.3 – Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Dr Congo, *Congo, *Chad
Zone 4.4 – Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Burundi and Madagascar
Zone 4.5 – Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa
These zones come to effect just after the initial four (4) zones had finished their championships for the year 2019, and preparation for the Africa Individual Chess Championship becomes ripe as Tunisia bills to host the final World Cup qualifier on the African continent for the year 2019.
Below are the winners of the African zones, who would be representing Africa at the World Cup for the year 2019. These players would fly the African flags fighting for their respective zones for the last time under the former structure, before the change:
GM Bilel Bellahcene from Algeria, who with a straight 9/9, defeated all that came before him to win the zonal championship in excellent fashion, claimed the zone 4.1 trophy and also qualifies to represent the zone at the 2019 Chess World Cup in Russia.
GM Ahmed Adly from Egypt, he had to fight his way through Ugandans and Kenyans, who knew this would be the last time they would get the opportunity to play the Egyptians and gave it their best. Even though they qualified ahead of the Egyptians two (2) years ago, they were unable to stop the brilliance of GM Adly this time around and he finished with a superb 8/9 points to claim the spot from the zone.
IM Fy Rakotomaharo, the special young man from Madagascar who stands tall ahead of everyone n the zone, and he showed class as he won the event in a pool of top Southern players. Maybe home advantage or maybe he is just the defender of the Southern Africa, as he finished victorious with a whopping 8/9 points to qualify to represent the zone in Russia later this year.
IM Anwuli Daniel, the 21 year old face of The Go For A Nigerian Grandmaster and the youngest International Master in the zone, claimed the title and World Cup spot with a brilliant performance in Ghana, where he outpaced every other more experienced and older opponents, in a pool of players that included International Masters, Fide Masters, Canidate Masters and other fighters, with about twenty (20) players from Nigeria and others who wanted the spot, with half a point ahead of his closest rival to claim the top spot.
Who will be the best performer at the World Cup!?
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Note – starred (*) countries are pending to be added to the zones.