Home Africa Report Day 2: The African Junior Chess Championships

Day 2: The African Junior Chess Championships

by Ogunsiku Babatunde
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It was a day to remember for the Ivorian representatives and one to forget for the Nigerians, as the players from these two (2) nations had contrasting results in the second round of the #AJCC2019 tournament. The open section had a number of games going into three (3) hours of brain work, while a few ended only after five (5) hours of play.

Female Section:

The big news in this section was the game between Nigeria’s Enomah Emmanuella Trust and Algeria’s Djerroud Chahrazed, which produced the first major upset of the round in an interesting turn of events. Emmanuella had a path to build on the advantage she gained from the opening, but then started to take some dubious routes, which allowed the young Algerian back into the game.

Djerroud Chahrazed of Algeria! Photo Credit: Ogunsiku Babatunde

In a game that went on for about five (5) hours, one of the errors of the Nigerian would have been the exchange of her powerful bishop with the Algerian’s knight and pushing her kingside majority pawns without a concrete plan, which allowed Chahrazed to pounce and eventually pick up the full point. Definitely lessons learned in that game.

WCM Felix Tobi

On board 1 however, after holding a +10 advantage in the opening, Ghana’s WCM Felix Tobi cracked the position and gave away a winnable position to WFM Pires Luzia, in a game that makes upcoming chess players understand the need to understand “winning calculations”. As someone said, “the hardest game to win, is a won game”. Another lesson learned.

Yavo Tchetche Marie of Cote D’Ivoire

Board 3 had an interesting bout, between Ivorian WCM Yavo Tchetche Marie and Botswana’s WCM Gabatshwarwe Refilwe (in the battle of the young WCMs), they both played into a comfortable middlegame, but the handling of the position set up after the opening moves was where Marie was caught out, and this was sustained until the endgame, when she had to resign.

Benson Maud of Ghana

Benson Maud stood tall in the battle of locals, when she faced off against the upcoming Barnor Mary. Maud handled the position strategically to fend off any possible threats, which gave her all she needed to go for the jugular, and she was victorious afterwards.

De Souza Ivana Claudia Eyram of Togo

Cote d’Ivoire’s Lorng Yowel Madelleine and Togo’s De Souza Ivana Claudia Eyram were the other winners of the round against Barnor Rebecca and Mensah Rahael respectively.

Open Section:

Board 1 was more of a walk in the park for GM Fawzy Adham, who came about seven (7) minutes after the start of the round and was taking some drink after he started his game, hardly sat to think too much about his moves and put the Nigerian youngster in a position that was easy for him and hard for Okeke to play. Isaac resigned well before move 40 and it was as though there was no fight in the young Nigerian, who was tipped to be the next big thing for the country.

GM Fawzy Adham against Okeke Isaac

IM Fy Rakotomaharo found it tougher on board 2 though, as Libyan Elier was not going to go down without a fight, and he ensured the Malagasy IM knew that. The fight lasted for over five (5) hours before the Malagasy found a breakthrough, and confirmed that it was a tough game for him, but he always knew his plan and focused on it to get victory at the end.

IM Fy Rakotomaharo of Madagascar

On board 3, another Nigerian fell to the might of the Egyptian plan. Oyelabi Jonathan played a prepared line in the opening, and he got lost along the way, with IM Kandil Adham showed why he is not just rated ELO 2300+, but also why he is an international master. Kandil handled the queen exchange in the opening line with precision, putting both his rooks on the open d-file and maintaining the pressure until Jonathan dropped an officer and resigned during the transition point of the middlegame, heading into the endgame.

IM Kandil Adham

Board 5 had a tupsy turvy and nervous game for the spectators, where both Filipe Marcio (Angola) and Tanoe Yao Aubin Maximilien (Cote d’Ivoire) had an interesting game. From the opening into the middlegame, Maximilien had a good strong position, which if he had handled well, should guarantee a win, but a wrong middlegame idea led to a collapse of the advantage, and handed it to Marcio, who would not let the grip loose in any way. Marcio sustained the advantage and eventually won the game, which is what top players do.

Filipe Marcio against Tanoe Yao Aubin Maximilien

The only surviving Nigerian from the onslaught of the day was Ogosi Rafael-Mary, who took out Foua Aroll Junior in a keenly contested game. The Ivorian spent all his time finding the right moves and plans, even when he was down positionally, he continued to pull out ideas that would help get him out, but it was not to be, as Rafael was determined not to let what he had slip off his grasp. With about an hour left on his clock, Rafael found the winning plan and went directly for it, which gave the Nigerian contingent something to smile about.

Ogosi Rafael-Mary of Nigeria

In a game where Ghana’s Karamchandani Rohan had a winning advantage against Sao Tome’s Fabio Costa Alegre, the Ghanaian accepted an endgame exchange that restricted his king from entering into his opponent’s half of the board and they played out a three-fold repetitive draw.

Branch Amin Richard of Cote D’Ivoire

Nenyo Enock Kpodzi of Ghana

Kouame Ange of Cote D’Ivoire

The three (3) big winners for the round were Ivorian duo of Kouame Ange and Branch Richard Amin, as well as Nenyo Enock Kpodzi of Ghana who defeated Bannerman Emmanuel Kelvin, delivering a checkmate in a position he was losing in all forms.

With the third round kicked off, the unlikely Algerian, Djerroud Chahrazed leads the female section alongside WFM Pires Luzia and WCM Gabatshwarwe Refilwe, while the Malagasy IM Fy Rakotomaharo leads the open section along with five (5) others.

Who do you think would win in both section? Have Your Say in the comment section below.

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