Day 5: Africa Individual Chess Championship, Tunisia

The Doc is back! That is the heading for today’s news, seeing the destructive way with which GM Amin Bassem took out his deputy, GM Adly Ahmed! The rook sacrifice for two (2) pawns and a bishop after initially going a pawn and rook for two (2) knights, was nothing short of exquisite. When the stakes are high, the good doctor delivers, as he did yesterday.

GM Dr. Bassem Amin
Photo Credit: Alina L’Ami

It was a day filled with upsets strong enough to make players quit the game and just become spectators, but as is our custom, we take it from the top.

In the last round, GM Hamdouchi Hicham took young IM Anwuli Daniel to a place where the young man could not find his way out, but this time, GM Fawzy Adham was the one getting one for the young bloods, as he ensured that the veteran Moroccan would not escape his grasp. Playing an unconventional Sicilian defense, the young grandmaster did his best to complicate the game as early as move 3…. Nd4!? which was followed by some highly ballistic opening moves that put the veteran grandmaster on the back foot from the get go. GM Fawzy got more than enough on the kingside to convert the game and eventually win the game.

GM Fawzy Adham

GM Bellahcene Bilel continues to show why he is the new kid on the block with another masterclass against the Zambian stronghold in IM Andrew Kayonde. The game was a demonstration of how to break through the solid Caro-Khan defense and the young grandmaster was clinical in the opening. After two (2) unprotected pawns were snapped up by the Algerian, it was time to trade off pieces and he did not mind trading his rook for the Zambian’s bishop, considering the guarantee the pawns gave him for a fantastic endgame finishing, which Kayonde saw and resigned.

IM Arab Adlane picked up his 2nd win on the bounce and his third win of the tournament against Tunisia’s IM Hbacha Achraf to join the lead. Being on the white side of a Queen’s gambit declined, was the beneficiary of a miscalculation by the Tunisian hard nut. Trading pieces was meant to be in favor of black, and after a few pawn trades, it started to tend towards a draw, but with the Tunisian thinking he could get more from the position because his pawn was on his opponent’s 7th rank, he lost focus and allowed the Algerian space enough to get his pawns far enough to cause serious damage, which ultimately cost him the game.

Board 5 had South Africa’s strongman, GM Solomon Kenny, face off against Madagascar’s pride, IM Fy Rakotomaharo, in a repeat from last year in Cote D’Ivoire. These guys pushed themselves in a battle where the Sicilian dragon was employed by the grandmaster, while the Malagasy chose to go out of book in other to create some weaknesses in his opponent’s camp. The weaknesses were not enough to secure a victory though, as the South African was not yet ready to lose a game at the tournament and even though the young IM had three (3) pawns to his opponent’s one by the end of the game, they both understood that the extra two (2) pawns were dead and the rooks would be sacrificed for the pawns at the end of the day, which made them agree to an interesting draw.

IM Fy against GM Kenny in Côte D’Ivoire, 2018
Photo Credit: Alina L’Ami

On a day when IM Kayonde lost his first game of the tournament, other Zambians stood up to be counted, as FM Munenga Douglas D recorded an important victory over Nigeria’s FM Oragwu Chukwunonso, IM Chumfwa Stanley was victorious against Angola’s IM Silva David and Prince Daniel Mulenga recorded a morale boosting victory over countryman CM Musatwe Simutowe.

The upset of the day, which may double as the upset of the tournament happened on board 15, with Sasha Winston-Onyiah (ELO 1968) recording a huge victory over GM Hesham Abdelrahman (ELO 2417). This victory put the Nigerian in the class of those that have defeated a grandmaster (who are quite few, in the country that boasts of being the Giant of Africa).

Nigeria’s Sasha Winston-Onyiah

The other upset on the day goes to Uganda’s Mande Allan Benjamin (1887) who recorded an impressive draw against Tunisia’s CM Bouzidi Ahmed (2191). The Ugandan, who only lost his first two (2) games has been impressive afterwards, picking up two (2) draws against higher rated opponents and gliding through his lower rated opponent. But then, the journey is still four (4) rounds to go.

IM Arab Adlane vs GM Adly is our Match of The Day!

With five (5) players on 4/5, it is a fight to the finish as the round 6 takes place in a few hours. And the game of the round would be on board 2, where Algeria’s veteran IM Arab Adlane would be taking on Egypt’s GM Adly Ahmed, who happens to be one of those that made the GM title elusive for the veteran over the years. This bout would go a long way to determine if the Algerian is finally ready to be called a grandmaster, because if he can not get past Africa’s number 2, then there is little or nothing for him going forward.

Other interesting games of the round 6 to watch out for are:

GM Fawzy taking on GM Bassem for a place at the top!

The young GM Fawzy Adham, currently unbeaten at the tournament would be facing off against countryman and top seed GM Bassem Amin on board 1

Board 3 has another family affair, with Algeria’s duo of GM Bellahcene Bilel and IM Oussedik Mahford would be trading punches on the board.

On board 4, the brilliant IM Fy Rakotomaharo takes up the black pieces against Zambia’s FM Munenga Douglas D, and both players would be looking for a way to keep up with the guys at the top with a win.

The All Nigerian matchup sees IM Adu Oladapo face off against FM Oragwu Chukwunonso, in a bout that may well decide who would top the other at the end of the tournament, as well as who has the best chance of going all the way.

IM Adu Oladapo takes on FM Oragwu Chukwunonso

On a day where two (2) open players withdrew from the tournament, the female section had some very interesting games, with WGM Wafa Shrook making WIM Jesse February look like a total beginner, with some brilliant tactical shot, which stemmed from a prepared opening line.

WGM Wafa Shrook using the Sicilian defense to great effect against WIM Jesse February

WFM Miladi Amen (1777) was able to hold WIM Latreche Sabrina (2062) to a draw, despite being almost 300 ELO points behind. The big news of the round in this section came on board 3, where Nigeria’s Ofowino Toritsemuwa (1877) dealt a huge blow to Egypt’s WGM Wafa Shahenda (2175) in a game that showed the power of middlegame maneuvers and endgame understanding.

WFM Miladi Amen forces WIM Latreche Sabrina to a draw

Nobody has been able to beat an Egyptian and go scot free in the next round and it would be left to see if Toritsemuwa would be able to overcome yet again as she faces off against WGM Wafa Shrook in round 6 and on board 1.

WGM Wafa Shrook taking on the resurgent Ofowino Toritsemuwa

After falling well behind the pack, both WFM Mwango Lorita and WGM Wafa Shahenda would be facing each other in the 6th round on board 6, which would also be a game to watch out for.

Now to our readers, where would the upset come from today?

Do kindly leave a statement in the comments section for us.

One comment

  1. I’d really love to view the game inwhich GM Amin Bassem dealt with his opponent GM Adly Ahmed. Your description of the doctor’s sacrifices and delivery got me longing to view the game.

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