Day 3 of the Africa Individual Chess Championship in Tunisia brought about some of the biggest upset in African chess. It was expected that the match on board 1 was going to be a cracker, but the good doctor losing was never really on the cards, and this would be highlighted in the report of day 3.
It seemed business as usual after the knight sac by the Algerian 21 year old Grandmaster, who gladly collected two (2) pawns for a knight, with space and pressure compensation. The young GM then went on to gladly collect his piece back after some miscalculations from the Egyptian maestro, who seemingly overstretched and eventually got burned, in an encounter that shook the very foundations of African chess as a whole.
This confirms that GM Bellahcene Bilel is the player to beat at this championship, getting half a point against him would be gold and defeating him would mean going ahead to win the championship. I only pity who would go into the theatre of Dr Bassem Amin tomorrow (borrowing from Kisho), because he is a wounded lion and would pour his energy into the fight coming.
GM Ahmed Adly was on the black side of the Sicilian defense, which the Moroccan GM Hamdouchi Hicham tried to unbalance with a kingside attack that could not hold and rather fell to a calculated queenside attack that was disastrous and eventually led to victory for the Egyptian.
On board 3 was GM Solomon Kenny, who pushed the Algerian IM Arab Adlane to his limits before a draw was agreed to by both parties. It was a serious battle for the South Africans, as FM Klaasen Calvin John also pushed the young Egyptian GM Fawzy Adham to a point where only a draw would suffice for both players, as it is way better than losing in this field of strong men.
In a repeat of their battle in Cote D’Ivoire, IM Fy Rakotomaharo stood tall yet again against IM Adu Oladapo in a fiercely contested battle for pride and glory. It was one in which the young man from Madagascar showed the veteran IM what Magnus showed MVL at Croatia.
Zambia had an in between day on day 3, with two (2) wins, a draw and a loss, kicked off with IM Andrew Kayonde defeating the Nigerian IM Balogun Oluwafemi in a battle of ideas in space, piece management, minor pieces, strategy and the likes. Unfortunately, the Nigerian could not match up to the intensity of the Zambian and had to resign when it became unfitting for an IM to remain seated. And the second win coming from IM Chumfwa Stanley, who defeated Ethiopia’s FM Mesfin Leykun, who felt he should have gotten something out of the game on the day.
The sole survivor of the Nigerian crash on day 3 was twenty two (22) year old IM Anwuli Daniel, who stood tall against all odds, battled the Tunisian IM Zaibi Amir, until they both agreed to a standstill, which earned the young Nigerian a draw in the battle of young IMs.
The upsets of the day, apart from board 1, which was mind blowing, was the victory on board 10, delivered by FM Amdouni Zoubaier of Tunisia over GM El Gindy Essam of Egypt, in a Berlin Defense gone wrong. It seemed like Crazyhouse chess, the way the Tunisian FM sacced his knight for a pawn in the opening, to chase down the GM’s king all the way from the center to the queenside, and in the words of another, showed how to deal with a Grandmaster.
And Sierra Leone’s CM Kamara Ansumana’s victory over the astonished Prince Daniel Mulenga, who would still be wondering what has gone wrong with him, from standing toe to toe with Grandmasters in Zambia to losing three (3) straight games at the Africa Individual Chess Championship in Tunisia….is it jetlag? Is it fatigue? Or is it just a need for his psychological evaluation? He needs to figure out what the problem is and come out to represent Zambia the way he is know to do, bringing out the fighter in him. But hey, everyone came to Tunisia with the purpose to make a name for themselves and fight for different purposes.
Round 4 presents interesting match-ups as the Algerian wunderkind, GM Bellahcene Bilel faces the Egyptian deputy GM Adly Ahmed in a fight for country and pride. Would Adly restore the pride of the Egyptians? Would Bilel make it two out of two (2/2)? Or would they fight to a draw like Sasuke and Naruto in the final fight? Only a few hours will tell.
Other interesting battles to look out for are:
IM Andrew Kayonde against IM Fy Rakotomaharo in a repeat from Cote D’Ivoire last year
Young IM Anwuli Daniel against the veteran GM Hamdouchi Hicham in a veteran vs youngster matchup
Cote D’Ivoire’s sole representative FM Degondo Simplice Armel taking on IM Arab Adlane
Zambia’s FM Douglas Munenga D against South Africa’s FM Klaasen Calvin John
And IM Makoto Rodwell who takes on FM Oragwu Chukwunonso
In the female section, WGM Wafa Shrook continued her dominance with a brilliant performance that saw her opponent fall for an indefensible 7th rank mate threat, with which she had to resign.
While on board 2, WIM Latreche Sabrina restored the pride of the Algerians by enduring a stern defeat of WFM Mwango Lorita, who had on day 2, defeated the highest rated female player in the country.
Board 3 saw WIM Mezioud Amina bounce back from the round 2 loss to deal a huge blow to WGM Wafa Shahenda, who did not see the attack coming until it was too late to do anything about it.
South Africa’s Jesse February showed both stamina and strength as she brilliantly defeated Nigeria’s Aishat Ibrahim in an open middlegame that saw black punished for not completing development before opening the game and for leaving the king in the center.
While Nigeria’s Ofowino Toritsemuwa bounced back from her second round loss to pick up an important point against Tunisia’s WFM Marzouk Amira in an interesting game.
Day 4 would definitely be very interesting and we would like to ask you yet again:
Where do you think the upset would come from on day 4?
Do have your say in the comments section below.