16:59, Monday, 14th August, 2017

KCF Africa would like to wish our patron GM Garry Kasparov well as he plays his first professional chess game since 2005 at the Grand Chess Tour's St Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament in Missouri, USA this evening!

During the opening ceremony held last night, Garry announced that he would be donating his tournament winnings to support the development of chess on the African continent!

We wish to thank him for his generous gesture and we wish him well on his highly anticipated return to the game that made him famous!

His comments from the opening ceremony can be viewed at
https://twitter.com/chesscom/status/897102201151258628/video/1.

All from the tournament will be streamed live from 20.00 CAT at http://grandchesstour.org/

11:30, Friday, 4th August, 2017

The 2017 Kinshasa Open took place over the weekend of 24 - 25 June and was run by the Congo Chess Federation (FECOJEC) with support from KCF Africa and Bralima.

The event is one of the smaller annual tournaments we support on an annual basis but it is very important to the local chess federation which continues to try and grow the game in the country.

The DRC is one of the largest countries in Africa and its sheer size makes it logistically challenging to attract international players. Despite this, there are a number of strong local players who are based within the capital city of Kinshasa.

The 5 round tournament was played as an open swiss event and it attracted 18 participants. It was won with a perfect score of 5/5 by FM Willy Mimbasa who lived up to his reputation as the only titled player from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We wish to recognize the ongoing work of Mr Guy Esungi and his team at FECOJEC and we thank Mr Dady Katungulu who officiated at the tournament.

11:00, Sunday, 30th July, 2017

The South African Junior Chess Championships will once again take place at the Birchwoods Hotel and Conference Center with the next edition scheduled to be held from the 3 – 12 January 2018. These dates have been released as part of the first tournament circular which was recently published on the event website.

The SAJCC is the largest annual chess tournament on the African continent and attracted in excess of 2400 participants across all age groups last year. There are multiple events forming part of the championships including both team and individual competitions.

The championships are not restricted to South Africans and African federations who are interested in sending representatives can get full information from the official tournament website at http://www.sajcc.co.za/.

The circular with full event details can also be downloaded at https://www.sajcc.co.za/static/downloads/2017%20SAJCC%20Circular%2011Jm.pdf.

Any enquiries can be directed to the tournament director, IO Judy-Marie Steenkamp at info@sajcc.co.za.

The SAJCC continues to go from strength to strength and we would encourage all African chess federations to consider sending representatives to what promises to be another excellent tournament early in the new year.

13:44, Tuesday, 25th July, 2017

The 2017 SA Open eventually attracted more than 450 players and was dominated by Indian GM Sahaj Grover who eventually won all three of the major tournaments (SA Open, SA Rapid and SA Blitz).

This was the second time that Sahaj has visited South Africa within the last three months after his strong performances in the PSS Rapid and the Capablanca Open tournaments earlier this year.

KCF wishes to congratulate Sahaj on a great performance and we also extend our congratulations to IM Daniel Jere (2nd), IM Rodwell Makoto (3rd) and IM Watu Kobese who ended as the highest placed South African to qualify for the SA Closed at the end of the year.

Chessbase has also published a nice report on the event which was written by the tournament director Mr Erick Takawira. Full details can be read at https://en.chessbase.com/post/sahaj-grover-dominates-south-african-champ...

18:10, Monday, 10th July, 2017

Report on tour of GM Kenny Solomon to Botswana

GM Kenny Solomon arrived at Gaborone airport in the late afternoon of Monday 26th June after his connecting flight from Lusaka was slightly delayed. He was still in high spirits however after his victory at the Zone 4.3 Championships and his week-long training sessions held in Lusaka.

His formal activities started on Tuesday with a simultaneous exhibition held at Maruapula Highschool. He was assisted at this session by FM Abhiram Sasitharan, one of the Botswana CMAT trainees, who held a training session for the participants after the exhibition. Kenny then visited a Mobilechess Preschool session to see how coaches conducted training of kids between the ages of 4 and 6. He was moved by this display and said it was a great initiative to have 20 Kindergarden age learners learning chess in a single classroom at the same time.

On Wednesday, Kenny visited the Batlokwa Primary School on the outskirts of Gaborone to teach 30 students. He was accompanied by another CMAT trainee, Thatayaone Seleka. Kenny took a second session later the same day with the help of Oabona Ditshameko at Tshiamo Primary. This school has another 30 chess players who have started playing chess due to the CMAT program in Botswana.

On Thursday, Kenny taught an advanced class consisting of both Primary and Highschool students at The Learning Centre (TLC) school in Gaborone. He was impressed by the questions the children asked and how well they played through the games he taught them. He was accompanied on this visit by Londani Tamuhla who assisted him with the class of 30 chess players.

On Friday 30th June, Kenny undertook a simultaneous exhibition and played a total of 14 games with the top junior achievers who were selected in January. It was a long day with many of the games lasting many hours. Ultimately, Kenny won all these games with fatigue causing a few youngsters to throw away their drawing chances in the last minutes of play.
After the exhibition was over, Kenny gave a short review and demonstrated some lessons that could be learnt from the games on the Demo board. Kenny noted that the simul was fantastic as he was delighted with the level of interaction from the participants!

Saturday saw the time for strength training arrive. Kenny’s sessions were focused on areas the trainees had not worked on before and were designed to build on the work of GM Pontus Carlsson and IM Daniel Jere. During the previous legs the trainees were taught openings, variations and ideas connected to the Middlegame. Kenny was impressed with the knowledge of the trainees and commented that it was clear that they had been doing their homework. His main session focused exclusively on endgames and the transition from the middle-game to the Endgame. Kenny demonstrated the most basic endgames and then provided a series of practical examples on how to convert complex position to the basic that has been covered.

Sunday was the final day of the tour and Kenny visited the FIDE Rated tournament that was taking place in Gaborone where he had a chance to great many of the local chess players. He received a wonderful reception and conducted an interview for the Botswana National TV. He also attended the prize-giving where he was very well received by the local community. He ended the day with trainee evaluations.

GM Kenny Solomon finally returned to his home in Venice, Italy on Monday morning where he is planning to conduct his preparation for the Chess World Cup in September!

His visit to Botswana is the final leg of the CMAT tour which has seen 18 weeks of training conducted across 6 different countries. KCF Africa would like to thank Kenny as well as all the other masters who have participated in the tour. We also wish to extend our sincere thanks to the Paul Allen Foundation without whose support the series would not have been possible.

The success of the CMAT tour series has been clear for all to see and we sincerely hope that we can see similar programs established in the future.

10:06, Sunday, 9th July, 2017

Report on the visit of GM Kenny Solomon to Zambia
- by IM Andrew Kayonde

The third tour of the Chess Masters for Africa program in Zambia was conducted from the 19th to the 26th June 2016 by Grandmaster Kenny Solomon. His visit marked the final stage of the program which has already impacted in excess of 350 children across the country.

Kenny's tour commenced only two days after he won the Zone 4.3 Chess Championships in Livingstone, earning himself a coveted ticket to represent Africa at the Chess World Cup which is slated to take place in September in Georgia. Kenny flew directly to Lusaka following his triumph in Livingstone and immediately commenced with the roll out of the tour.

Day 1 was spent up-skilling the trainees – Kenny launched the tour by meeting with the trainers at the Russian Center and getting some insight into how each has developed since the inception of the CMFA program in Zambia. From the feedback received, the trainers have shown reasonable progress in both their individual playing strength and their ability to train children.

Kenny shared with them the story of his own journey to becoming a Grandmaster and his philosophy on chess development. He then delivered a lesson on fundamental rook and pawn endgames and then illustrated how to convert complex endgames into these fundamental technical endgames. He also illustrated the importance of building patterns and studying how they are executed in real games played by Masters from the past.

In the afternoon, the team visited the SOS Children’s Village which contributes the largest number of children to the CMFA program in Zambia. In total, 89 children were reached during this visit. The children were very well behaved and listened attentively to Kenny's motivational talk which encouraged them to keep their minds active through sport. At the end of the lesson, the children were encouraged to research on the past World Champions and come and name them the following day.

The morning of Day 2 again started off at the Russian Center with GM Solomon building on the lessons from the previous day. Satisfied that the trainers had grasped the fundamental rook and pawn endgames, he proceeded to teach about combinative play and things to look out for in complex middle-games. He used a game played by Alekhine in 1925 as well as one of his recent games at the Zone 4.3 tournament to deliver the lesson.

At around noon, ZNBC (the national broadcasting corporation) arrived on site and held an interview with Kenny and some of the trainees. The journalists asked pertinent questions about the program and the impact it had on children in Zambia. It was aired on the main news bulletin later that evening.

Once the interviews were finished the team paid a second visit to SOS Children’s Village. During this second visit, the children were taught about chess openings and the principles to observe during this phase of the game. 10 chess sets and two clocks were donated to the school and were gratefully received by the Principal and a delegation of senior teachers.

DAY 3 and 4 saw school visits conducted to Chibolya Primary School and Saint Mary Queen of Peace Girls Convent School. In the mornings, the team visited Chibolya, and in the afternoons they went to Mary Queen.

The Grandmaster delivered similar lessons to the two schools starting each lesson with a motivational talk while highlighting the benefits of chess and teaching the basics of the game.
On the second day, a review of the basics was done to establish if the children could apply the knowledge they had acquired. It was impressive how quickly and firmly the children from both schools had grasped the lessons.

GM Solomon also talked to the children about chess history which appeared to be a very exciting topic for them.

8 chess sets and two clocks were donated to each of the two schools and were again received by their Principals and delegations of senior teachers.

Day 5 saw Kenny conduct a simultaneous exhibition at the East Park Mall. He interacted with the wider chess populace at this event where he took on 24 opponents at the same time. His opponents included some of Zambia’s most promising junior players who were very keen to have an encounter with a Grandmaster. The exhibition was strategically held at the East Park Mall which ensured exposure to the large number of people passing by to do their weekend shopping.

The trainers were all at hand to explain the basics of the game to interested people and explain what the CMAT program was trying to achieve. It was interesting to note that this was the first time that many people learned that there was in fact a co-founder behind Microsoft!

The exhibition lasted approximately 4 hours with Kenny ultimately winning 20 games, drawing three and losing one. The only game Kenny lost was to one of the up and coming junior players by the name Sekelani Tembo. This was excellent motivation for Sekelani who has been brought up by his mother after he lost his father in a road accident at a very young age.

On the final day, Kenny visited the National Chess League and conducted one-on-one sessions with the Trainees. Almost every active chess player in Zambia was wanting to meet the Grandmaster to understand what he did to win the tough Zone 4.3 Chess Championships. In view of this, Kenny spent most of Sunday afternoon visiting with the chess players at the National Chess League held from NIPA. He openly gave personalized advice to chess players of all strength levels who were participating in the league games.

The President of the Zambia Chess Federation and Chairman of the Lusaka Province Chess Association received the Grandmaster and encouraged the players to take advantage of the rare opportunity. Kenny watched each of the CMAT trainees in action as they played their league games and ended the day with a series of one-on-one sessions in which he discussed the individual areas where he felt they could make improvements.

The Grandmaster finally departed for Botswana on the 26th June where he would complete the final training sessions for the 2017 CMAT tour.

20:44, Wednesday, 5th July, 2017

Garry will be coming out of retirement to play his first professional event in more then 10 years. We are very excited at the prospect of watching him compete in the St Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament at the end of August 2017!

http://grandchesstour.org/news-press-release-2017-sinquefield-cup/histor...

11:12, Monday, 3rd July, 2017

GM MAURICE ASHLEY's VISIT TO NAMIBIA
Report from Charles Eichab in Windhoek

GM Maurice Ashley visited Namibia from 11 - 15 June for the last of the 3 training sessions planned as part of the Chess Masters for Africa project. His fame as a teacher, writer and commentator had the training group particularly excited to receive him.

Maurice arrived on a fine Sunday afternoon at Namibia’s main airport and was driven the last 40km to Windhoek after clearing customs. This gave the GM a chance to get some general info on the country as well as its fauna and flora. We also share some important details about the trainees to assist the GM in his final preparation. After some arrival pictures, Maurice was left to settle in at the Hilton Hotel which was to be his abode for the duration of his stay.

TRAINING DAY 1 – 12 June 2017
Maurice gave each trainer the task of writing down questions they generally wrestle with in chess for his question and answer session on the final day.

The first session was loaded with many instructive items. The GM taught us about the three pillars of chess and showed trainers that it is important to construct a reason when teaching. We gained wonderful insights on the overall geometry of the chess board which helped us to view the chessboard with other shapes except the squares. We also went through many famous and important studies.

Although some studies were of a foundation nature, they were nevertheless a revelation for many of the trainees who had never seen them before. The trainees then played positions with unbalanced material distribution for each side which prove to be a lot of fun for all.

The first session was the shortest as lasted from 11h00 to 17h30 as players had to play in the Namibian Chess League. The GM visited the league later. He spent some time kibitzing the games and also studied some of the positions with Namibia’s top junior players.

TRAINING DAY 2 – 13 June 2017

On the second day, the GM spent time analyzed most of the games from the league played by the trainees the night before.
We continued our look at study positions and learned that imbalances are the essence of positional play. Each participant played the study positions from both sides with another trainee.

We also learned the 3 F’s which must be applied to assess any exchange in chess. This was a particular helpful rule of thumb.
We had multiple sparring sessions to internalized important chess concepts.

TRAINING DAY 3 – 14 June 2017

We started the day with an instructive session on one of the GM’s favorite writers De’bono who has a huge literature on the art of creativity. Maurice also stressed that the best way to build muscle memory faster is through muscle confusion. We must therefore learn to do things which are out of the ordinary.

He also taught us various forms of games that can be played on the chess board that can be exciting for the kids. Playing chess from opposite sides, give-away chess etc…

Later in the day, the GM visited a popular night club to soak in some of Namibia’s night life. We found some of the trainees playing chess in the middle of a club and the GM joined in spending the entire evening playing chess.

TRAINING DAY 4 – 15 June 2017

The GM explain how chess is a limited resources game where play gradually draws into the simple and therefore the need for us to play and understand simple positions deeply. We need some foundations rook endings as well as pawn endings.

It was interesting to note how even simple king-pawn positions like the Philidor and Vancura came in handy.

We also did the 5 categories of forcing moves and learned how to recognize and teach patterns and various checkmate themes through the study of the Arabian mate. At the end of the study the trainees were encouraged to create their own Arabian checkmates.

The GM then took the time to answer questions by each trainee which was handed in on day 1 of the training.

CONCLUSION

Maurice has a massive passion for chess teaching and manages to teach with a commanding voice even at the closing moments of the sessions. His ability to draw analogies and affinities to chess from many other disciplines of life make the teaching very informative but also easy to internalize.

The GM’s generosity of time and interest in the development of the trainees was very much evident throughout his stay. We are eternally grateful that our country was one of the chosen few to have been offered the opportunity to draw from GM Maurice Ashley’s inexhaustible well of chess knowledge

15:38, Sunday, 18th June, 2017

Open - Swiss System Tournament - 60 minutes per player
Full event details are available at http://www.kcfafrica.com/sites/default/files/2017%20Grand%20Kinshasa%20O....
Contact Tournament Director Mr Dady Katungulu on +243 (0) 815137968 or at dadykat2000@yahoo.fr to enter

06:24, Sunday, 18th June, 2017

GM Maurice Ashley visits Rwanda
Report By: Alain Niyibizi, Secretary General of Rwanda Chess Federation and CMAT Co-ordinator for Rwanda

Rwanda was fortunate to be able to host the world-renowned GM Maurice Ashley from the 6th to the 11th June 2017 for our final leg of the Chess Masters for Africa program. Maurice arrived in Kigali on Tuesday 6th June at around 3pm after having traveled for more than 21 hours from New York. He was looking as energetic as always (despite the long flight) and I met him at the airport and transported him directly to the Classic Hotel which would be his base for the duration of his stay in the country.

His first training session was held on Wednesday morning with a small and select group of 4 CMAT trainees. This initial session lasted for 3 hours and say Maurice’s focus on his pet subject – tactics!

In the afternoon, the group was joined by Christella, Alain and Sabin and together we visited Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux. This is a catholic girls school where Sabin is currently allocated as the CMAT trainer. The school has 40 dedicated girls aged between 12 and 14 participating in the program.

The girls have already received 6 training sessions and Maurice was greatly impressed with their commitment and the way they could follow and quickly capture the essence of the lessons. After the school visit, Maurice held a second 3 hour strength training session and this time all the trainees attended. He again focused on tactics, as well as key themes like opposition and zugzwang.

On Thursday morning, Maurice worked with 6 of the trainees where he again focused mainly on tactical training. The afternoon was used to visit Groupe Scolaire Sainte Famille, a local primary school where Mr Anastase Nyandwi is working as a regular MiniChess trainer. Maurice repeated the same sessions that he has done at Lycee Notre Dame the day before. He then held a second session with the trainees in the evening where he discussed many of the weak points which are common to most players in Rwanda.

From Friday to Sunday, the Rwanda Chess Federation hosted the 2017 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament. This event was FIDE rated and attracted more than 70 players from 7 different federations. Maurice was gracious enough to officially open the Tournament and he used the opportunity to explain the objectives of his visit and the important roles played by KCF Africa and the Paul Allen Foundation. He then spent time in the afternoon analyzing games with the tournament participants and making suggestions on areas where they could improve.

On Saturday morning, Maurice visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial where he learned about the Tutsi Genocide that was perpetrated in Rwanda in 1994. He was soon back for more analysis at the tournament on Saturday afternoon however and he left early on the morning of Sunday 11th June for Namibia where he would complete his African tour.

Both the CMAT trainees and the broader chess fraternity in Rwanda learned a lot from this visit and we hope we will as a result. On behalf of the entire Rwanda chess fraternity we wish to thank GM Maurice as well as KCF Africa and the Paul Allen Foundation for the support that you continue to provide to chess in Rwanda.

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