Candidate Master Zhemba Jemusse won the just ended National Chess Championships which were held at Causeway POSB Canteen from the 10th to 13th of August. He finished with an incredible 8.5 points out of 9 games, defeating eight of the nine top players he faced and only drew against Tapiwa Chikwavaire in a rook ending, which was very tactical and resulted in a truce.
In second position was Candidate Master Spencer Masango who finished with 7 points of the 9 games played. He lost against Zhemba Jemusse and drew against Tapiwa Chikwavaire in a rook ending with some pawns, which had the 3-fold repetition of moves, with Chikwavaire hunting for the King and trying to salvage a draw against the much fancied Spencer Masango. Masango then drew his final round game against Vitalis Mapuranga in another pulsating game, which left many onlookers amazed by the way in which it ended.
In third place was Vitalis Mapuranga who had 6.5 points. He had three draws and one loss against the eventual winner Zhemba Jemusse. His draws were against Spencer Masango, Roy Mwadzura and Tapiwa Chikwavaire. He misplayed a drawn game against Zhemba when he left a potential pawn, which he was supposed to keep threatening promotion with and eventually lost the game.
In fourth position was Elisha Thabo with five points. He started the tournament very badly failing to convert games to points. His wins were against Tinashe Chinhanga, Tapiwa Chikwavaire, Donald Chinyama and Roy Mwadzura. He drew against Vitalis Mapuranga before picking another draw against Elisha ‘Cheka’ Chimbamu in the final round, to finish with five points and on the fourth position. His losses were against Spencer Masango, Vitalis Mapuranga, and Van Madanhi. Overall he had two draws and four wins making the total points five.
On fifth position, there was a tie between Elisha Chimbamu and Van Madanhi who both had 4 points. Chimbamu defeated Donald Chinyama, Roy Mwadzura, Van Madanhi before drawing against Tapiwa Chikwavaire and Elisha Thabo. Elisha Chimbamu was better on a head to head against Madanhi. Van Madanhi, who defeated Elisha Thabo, Donald Chinyama, Roy Mwadzura and Tinashe Chinhanga.
On seventh position was Tapiwa Chikwavaire who had 3.5 points. His final round game against Roy Mwadzura was so pulsating and nail biting, as it left some onlookers shell shocked when Roy missed a mating combination. The game ended in a draw, as there was a truce after Roy Mwadzura failed to penetrate and demonstrate a win against the solid position, which Chikwavaire came up with, resulting in the formation of a fortress, which was so formidable that GM Karjakin would be proud of. Tied on eighth place was Roy Mwadzura and Tinashe Chinhanga who both had 3 points each, followed by Donald Chinyama who got the wooden spoon with a well fought draw against Tapiwa Chikwavaire in a rook ending.
The winner pocketed a cool $850 RTGs, followed by $600 RTGs, $350 RTGs, $250 RTGs , $175 RTGs, $175 RTGs, while positions seventh to ten pocketed $150 each for their efforts.
In the ladies Championships Woman FIDE Master Refiloe Hazel Mudodo was the winner with 7.5 points out of the 9 games played. She only lost one game against Taenda Zengeni and drew against Colleta Wakuruwarehwa in a pulsating and interesting game. Her most prized game, which won her the tournament and title, was the game against Woman Candidate Master Christine Makwena when they were tied on 6.5 points in the final round. Also another game to remember was her game against Woman Candidate Master Kudzanai Charinda whom she defeated in round one.
In second position was WCM Christine Makwena with 6.5 points followed by Zengeni Tatenda Mellisa with 6 points, as well as Charinda Kudzanayi, who joined Christine and Mellisa in second position. There was also another tie on fifth position with both Colleta Wakuruwarehwa and Linda Shaba who had five points claiming rights to the position.
These were followed by the experienced Rhoda Masiyazi who had four points and pocketed a cool $100 RTGs. WCM Paidaishe Zengeni and WCM Mawire Rumbidzai had two points apiece, while Tanaka Chikwavaire had one point on paper and failed to convert some important games against some seasoned players, where she had advantage. One can say that it was probably fear or rather it was not her day. The grade 7 player has a lot of potential and if well pruned, would quickly surprise a lot of folks. The winner of the ladies Nationals pocketed a cool $600 RTGs for her efforts, followed by second position, who collected $450 RTGs, Charinda and Zengeni shared $300 RTGs each. The fifth placed players shared $300 RTGs getting $150 RTGs each, while players from seventh to tenth positioned players got $100 RTGs each for their efforts.
Meanwhile in the Candidates section Cevan Mrerwa was tied on first position with Seke 4 High School learner Kudakwashe Zimbowa. They both had 8 points. Cevan had a better buccholz compared to that of Kudakwashe Zimbowa, who failed to play his first round game after missing the game due to some personal issues. They both pocketed $625 RTGs each for sharing the first position and second position prizes.
There was an eight way tie for third position with seven points. These players were: Mandeya Hamilton, Gora Tapiwa, Mashumba Ian, Hamandishe Farai, Muungani Adolf, Musekiwa Michael , Mpofu Merit
and Chidembo Prince, and they all got $156 RTGs each for their efforts.
Cevan Mrerwa defeated Hamilton Bhudha Mandeya in exciting fashion, with a scintillating finish, which cemented the first position for Cevan in a game that swung like a pendulum. Earlier, Cevan had lost to Tapiwa Gora in a bookish game where Gora sacrificed his knight and this resulted in an instant huge advantage, which ensured that there was nothing Cevan could do after that. Tapiwa Gora then lost to Hamilton Mandeya in round 8, which led him to tie on third position after his draw against Michael Musekiwa in the final round of the tournament.
Kudakwashe Zimbowa won his final round game against Maikokera Walter in a pulsating endgame, in which Maikokera blundered a rook under time pressure and this handed Zimbowa victory on a silver platter. Kudakwashe Zimbowa was the best Scholar and he collected $150 RTGs followed by Ryan Mafusire of Morgan High School who had 6.5 points. Best lady was Amos Florence who qualifies to play in the Ladies Nationals next year. She pocketed a cool $200 RTGs while Moses Gweshe was the best over 40 player with 6.5 points getting himself $200 RTGs.
This tournament was proudly sponsored by Crystal Candy. The prizes were courtesy of the mentioned company. The Chief Arbiter for the tournament was IA Simbarashe Murimi, while the Deputy Chief Arbiter was FA Chimbamu who were also assisted by Ivan Chivese, NA Jarmil Ndoro and NA Ndebele. The organizers were Clive Mpambela, and Fungirayiini Mushaninga. The tournament was a success as it had many players who took part. The Candidates section had a total of 130 players who took part while the Men’s and Ladies Nationals both had twenty players.