African Individual Chess Championships 2024 Kicks off in Accra, Ghana

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The stage is set in Accra, Ghana, as the anticipated African Individual Championships 2024 kicked off on March 13th. This vibrant city that recently hosted the chess competition of the 13th African Games, is now witnessing top African players unite for this prestigious event. Both the open and women’s championships feature 9-round Swiss events with a classical time control, running until March 20th. Among the notable players gracing the event are Grandmasters Bassem Amin from Egypt, Jesse February from South Africa and Bilel Bellahcene from Algeria, along with International Masters and Women’s Grandmasters from various African nations.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich added prestige to the opening ceremony by participating and making the ceremonial first move in the women’s competition. Besides the gratitude he expressed to the organizers and participants in his speech, he emphasized the broader impact of chess beyond just a sport, noting its ability to connect local chess communities with national governments and commissions, thereby facilitating support and development at a grassroots level.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo: ChessBase

Excitement soared as Dvorkovich also made mention of the Chess Torch, which will soon arrive in Accra from India as part of FIDE’s 100-year celebrations. The Chess Torch Relay, a component of FIDE’s centennial festivities, is set to journey across continents en route to Budapest, the host city of the 45th Chess Olympiad.

As the African Individual Championships continues, In the women’s section, Jesse February from South Africa remains undefeated after round four. Similarly, in the open section, Mwali Chitumbo from Zambia and Africa’s top-ranked Grandmaster Amin Bassem are yet to suffer a defeat. The Women’s Section Round 5 results are also a very interesting game between the youths WCM Natalie Banda of Botswana and Chisomo Boshoma ended in a draw, and WCM Marie Yavo Tchetche secured a victory over Zambia’s WFM Constance Mbatha. 12-year-old Deborah Quickpen from Nigeria also defeated WIM Anzel Laubscher of South Africa in the 5th round.

The chess community is excitedly awaiting the intense competitions and clever strategies that will continue to unfold on the chessboard. As players compete for dominance, the event is set to demonstrate skill, determination, and the unifying influence of chess throughout Africa.

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