International Master Gillian Bwalya won the just ended Namibian Chess Open which was hosted at the very pleasant Out Of Nature Country Lodge with ideal playing conditions in a warm and quiet Safari environment. One had to be present to take in the serene conditions, ideal for the mental jousting that would take place.
The Open took place over 3 days 27-29 July 2018 just in the outskirts of Windhoek.
Out of Nature Country lodge was the host of the tournament and also served as accommodation to the more than 10 international chess players from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Over the 3 days, 57 chess players from the 4 nation’s including the hosts Namibia battled it out on the 64 squares in search for individual glory.
The tournament top seed, IM Bwalya popularly known as “Captain Charlie”, unsurprisingly routed all his opponents in a seven round Swiss tournament, showing why he was top seed given the rating gap between him and the player next in line.
Eichab, the lion, would have repelled the ‘sword”
In second place was Tapiwa Jele of Nkulumane Chess club of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He only lost to IM Gillian Bwalya making the Namibians only wish their National Champion CM Charles Eichab was around.
‘Eichab, the lion, would have repelled the ‘sword”, commented one Namibian chess enthusiast.
Jele defeated Tangane Goaboane of Botswana in the final round of the tournament. This was Tapiwa Jele’s first major tournament participation and he performed well also causing a lot upsets as he did at the Afristeel HCA Open chess tournament.
It seems the young man’s graph is getting better in each tournament outing which he takes part in.
Candidate Master James Dimba came third with 5.5 points out of the seven rounds of play, another Zambian, making the tournament unique in the sense that the hosts never featured in the top three of the prizes.
Bokamoso Simon of Botswana came fourth on Buchholz and had 5.5 points.
The winners walked away with some trophies and cash courtesy of the sponsors and they also enjoyed the hospitable conditions.
Ngihifikwa Leonard was the best local player, followed by CM Handiaba McLean another Namibian with 5 points out of seven games of play.
Botswana International Kgomotso Ndachipiwa, who will be representing her country at the Batumi World Chess Olympiad in September, finished first in the ladies category, while Lishen Mentile of Namibia was her runner up and Rauha Shipindo of Namibia was 3rd. They walked away with $52 , $29 , $22 respectively. The 3 also won a trophy and medals respectively.
Alexander Bertelsmann of Namibia, won the Cadet Section. He was followed by fellow Namibian Jamile Nicole Beukes and Mpene Thuto of Botswana on positions 2 and 3 respectively. They got $22 and $15 $ 17 plus a trophy and medals respectively.
Back: L-R Simon Shidolo; Ndachipiwa Kgomotso; Tapiwa Jele; Leonard Nghifikwa; IM Gillian Bwalya; CM James Dimba; WCM Lishen Mentile; Dudley Noreseb and CM McLean Handjaba Front: L-R Thuto Mpene and WCM Jamie-Nicole Beukes
The tourney was well organized with good tourney conditions on the ground which were very attractive to the players with a rating of 1900 plus.
This was the first time since 2007 that the event was braced by more than one international chess player, surely a shift in direction as far as international participation at the Namibian open is concerned.
Surely a sign of better things to come from the country!