I would have asked the great Lucky Dube to do a remix of his hit “ Nobody can stop reggae”- to change it to “ Nobody can stop chess”, as not even Covid can stop chess in Southern Africa (Zone 4.5) . From today 16th to 18th October, 2020, the battle over chess supremacy among Southern African countries resurfaces in a fierce online team championship competition organized by Fide.
South Africa, Eswatini, Malawi, Angola , Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho , Zambia , Zimbabwe minus the good boy Mozambique, who has excused himself , have all gathered in the virtual world baying for each other’s blood in Southern Africa honors.
It’s quite an interesting competition which will have teams feature 10 players aside in the following mix : Board 1 to 3 open , boards 4 to 6 ladies , board 6 and 7 junior boys, and boards 9 and 10 junior ladies .Adding even more excitement , It will be played in an inescapable all play all format . They will use Chessdot com as playing platform in a 10 minute 5’ incremental time control.
Southern Africa’s highest ranked team, South Africa are leaving no stone unturned for the championship. They has called back their chess maestro International Master Watu Kobese to help them parry away tricks on board one. Coupled with the experience of another great player International Master Johannes Mabusela , who will be handling the second board , he is expected to inspire the young players who are also said to be doing fine. There is FM Banele Mhango, CM Keith Khumalo, WIM Tshepang Tlale who are punching way above their level.
While second ranked team Zambia, who were hit by the demons of ‘ so near yet so far’ in the online Olympiad a few months ago , will still be relying on the experience of the 2019 Zambia open Champion International Master Richmond Phiri , and the Copper Eagle IM Chitumbo Mwali who are said to be punching machine like moves. There is also WIM Lorita Mwango, WCM Constance Mbatha, and junior Lubuuto Bwalya who are very lethal.
The 3rd ranked Angola team , who are still recovering from the trauma of the untimely passing on of their top player IM Pedro Aderito ( MHSRIP), will depend on the expertise of international Master David Silva and FM Sergio Manuel , and also WIM Caxita Experanca, who are very formidable players.
Contrary to people’s expectations, 4th ranked Zimbabwe team has deployed a youthful side led by Roy Mwadzura 2029 Elo who, though not that known on international scene , is a colossal in Zimbabwe online chess pedigrees. But it’s their ladies that can cause you goose pimples at their mention. Tatenda Zengeni, WCM Kudzanai Charinda , Colletta Wakuruwarewa ,and Refiloe Mudodo can crack any opponent they want.
IM Providence Oatlhotse will be the key man for fifth ranked Botswana . They also have strong ladies WIM Francis Okometse , WIM Kgalalelo Bothole and young WFM Besa Masaiti who has recently won a scholarship to study in Texas , USA .
6th ranked Malawi team has got CM Petros Razorblade Mfune on board 1, CM Chiletso on board 2 and their leading lady players WFM Linda Jambo , and WCM Ellen Mpinganjira will consolidate the team further.
7th placed Namibia will be guided by their undoubted great player CM Charles Eichab who will be assisted by the enterprising CM Simon Shidolo . But it will not be surprising to see their junior players doing great as they have, as a federation, done a lot in grassroot chess. It’s high time they start reaping the fruits.
In the absence of Mozambique , assumed 8th placed ever improving Lesotho are also expected to have a great tournament .CM Molape and CM Klaaas will be key.
Eswathini with young hungry talent like CM Smilo Hlope , CM Persivaal Sihlongonyane and WCM Nosipho Dlamini are also expected to put up a gallant fight .
This will be the first time that the Zone will host this kind of tournament. Many have commended Fide for this initiative in the zone.
The event’s Technical Director Charles Masaiti said all things are set for the event
Masaiti also said the event can be followed on ‘Follow Chess’ and social media platforms like the following facebook pages : Africa Chess Confederation Members and Chess Zone 4.5 Facebook page, and Africa chess news and Africa Lichess events Whatsup groups, and also Charles Masaiti Twitter Account.
Masaiti added that first team Prize is S320.00, Second team prize $220.00, Third team prize is $150.00, 4th team prize $100.00, and that the youngest players in the girls and boys categories will be recognized officially.