These days, when it is the Zambia Open Chess Championship, the rest of Africa stands up to watch. Today, 28th June 2019, grandmasters: Petr Kiriakov of Russia, Sahaj Grover of India, Hesham Abdelrahman of Egypt and Alexander Raetsky from Russia have all arrived in Zambia to unroll what is being dubbed by yours truly: “Operation Lusaka Storm”.
But if the comment made by a Zambian chess commentator is anything to go by: “Can the first 4 positions of the Championship section be interrupted by a non grandmaster?”
Definitely “Yes”, as top players like Zambia’s IM Andrew Kayonde, IM Richmond Phiri, IM Gillian Bwalya, IM Chitumbo Mwali, IM Stanley Chumfwa, IM Arthur Ssengwanyi (Uganda), FM Patrick Kawuma (Uganda) and CM Spensor Masango (Zimbabwe) all have the ability to break into the top 4 and disrupt expectations.
There will also be stomach churning games in the Open section, Under 16 Section and the ladies Section, which registered several players from Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa and Botswana.
According to reports, Lorita Mwango will be the strongest player in the ladies section, but she will likely be opposed by WGM Tuduetso Sabure of Botswana, who made history by becoming the first African Woman Grandmaster.
A total of 11 countries: Zambia, Uganda, Russia, India, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, South Africa, Somalia and Botswana have now gathered at the Olympic Youth Development Center for the event that has attracted over 230 players.
With a prize fund of about $11,115.00, the event is deemed to be one of the richest in sub saharan Africa.
The winner of the Championship Section will walk away with a cool $1,540.00, which was enough to attract somebody to fly all the way from Russia.
According to Zambia’s General Secretary, Chanda Nsakanya, the top 20 games of the Open Section will be transmitted on the internet for the world to follow, courtesy of the digital boards available to the federation. People can follow the action live on follow chess and the event can also be followed on Chess results.
In last year’s Zambia Open, IM Stanley Chumfwa won the Championship Section after beating 2 other players, including Grandmaster Hesham Abdelraman of Egypt in a tie breaker.
This year’s Zambia Open Chess Championship is sponsored by Zambia Chess President, Mukubulo Chilufya.