17:23, Sunday, 4th June, 2017

A lot of excitement has been generated in Zambia following the second CMFA tour which ran from 13th - 26th May 2017 under the guidance of reigning National Champion IM Andrew Kayonde.

In total, the CMAT program in Zambia has already reached out to 291 children from 6 different schools almost a third of all participating children being girls. The majority of the participating children are under the age of 12 with the youngest being a 6-year-old from SOS Children’s Village. At the end of the final visit by GM Kenny Solomon which is slated for late-June, the number of children impacted by the program will far exceed the target of 300 that was set for Zambia.

The theme of the second tour was “Teach and Inspire”. The lessons were designed from practical experience as IM Kayonde grew up in Zambia and shares similar experiences with many of the children participating in the program. The sessions were split over two consecutive weekends with the first taking place over the weekend of 13 and 14 May and the second the from 20-21 May.

During the first weekend, Andrew spent a lot of time demonstrating to the trainers how to use Chessbase 14 as a tool for both coaching and their own personal training. Chessbase 14 is the most widely used chess software among leading chess coaches and professional players around the globe and the trainees have benefited significantly by having access to this program as part of the tools provided. The sessions covered:
- Introduction to Chessbase 14
- How to work with chess databases
- How to enter and annotate games
- How to fully prepare for an opponent
- How to create puzzles from games of students.

On the second weekend, Andrew gave an inspirational speech to 77 children from six different schools who convened at Mary Queen of Peace Girls School. Many parents and guardians that listened to the speech vowed to keep their children playing chess due to the benefits that they had been made aware of.
The CMAT trainers then spread out among the 77 children and delivered over-the-board lessons as the children played and had fun. At the end of the session, chess sets were donated to the different schools. Top officials from the Independent School Association of Zambia received the donations and distributed them to the schools present.

On Sunday, 21st May, after having observed each of the trainers in action, IM Kayonde held another round of one-on-one sessions and provided each of the trainees with feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their games and coaching styles. The trainers were made to understand characteristics of their personalities as either Reflectors, Theorists Pragmatics or Activists based on a study documented in the influential book “Foundations of Chess Strategy”.

Following the sessions held with both GM Pontus Carlsson from Sweden as well as with IM Kayonde, the trainers are now fully conversant with the aims of the program and are able to run training sessions without much supervision. In light of this, on 26th May, Kennedy Katowa was asked to steer the team of trainers in rolling out the program to Horizon Primary and High School. In total, 50 children were present at this roll-out where the coaches present delivered lessons on how to play the opening correctly and how to approach the middle-game.
The children then played “Rocket Chess” – a fun game where a different person makes two continuous moves at each turn.

At the end of the session, 8 chess sets and 2 clocks were donated to the School and were received by the Principal. This roll out at Horizon Primary and High School goes to show that the program is fast maturing in Zambia and becoming self-sustaining with team effort being the order of the day instead of a one-man dependency approach.

The third-leg of the CMAT tour in Zambia is scheduled to be held at the end of June and will see GM Kenny Solomon from South Africa conducting the final leg of sessions that form part of this leg. We wish to thank Andrew and his team at Project Chess Zambia for their ongoing dedication to the development of chess at a grass roots level in Zambia and we look forward to the final report once Kenny completes the program at the end of this month.

18:22, Monday, 29th May, 2017

The 2017 Phela-Live Chess Championships concluded in Manzini on Sunday and saw fighting chess right to the end.

Congratulations are due to FM Mateus Alice from Mozambique and CM Musatwe Simutowe from Zambia who share first place in the Prestige section earning themselves E 7,750 each in the process. 3rd place was share by Jacob Mnguni (South Africa) and Simon Bokamosa (Botswana) who each pocketed E 3,000 while Kgomotso Ndachipiwa (BOT) earned the best female prize with a score of 3/6.

The open section was extremely competitive and eventually saw 4 players tie for first with 5/6. Congratulations in this section are due to Sikhumbuzo Dlamini (SWZ), Mandisa Similane (SWZ), Phera Moseli (LES) and Vusumizi Khumalo (SWZ) who all fought extremely hard to secure their 4 way tie at the top.

Sunday afternoon saw the action move to the premises of the Phela-Live wellness center in Ezulwini for 9 exciting rounds of FIDE rated blitz. In this event, Musatwe again proved his strength as he tied for first with Donaldo Paiva from Mozambique with a score of 8/9. 3rd place in the blitz was shared beteween Elisha Chimbamu from Zimbabwe and FM Mateus Alice from Mozambique who both ended with 6.5/9.

We wish to thank both the Swaziland Chess Federation and the Phela-Live Wellness center for their hospitality and we look forward to watching chess in Swaziland progress from strength to strength in the future.

Final standings from all sections are now updated at
http://chess-results.com/tnr280270.aspx?lan=1&art=0&turdet=YES&flag=30&w...

19:41, Saturday, 27th May, 2017

The 2017 Phela-Live Prestige section is poised for an exciting finish after 4 tight rounds have failed to produce an outright leader. The event was officially launched at the offices of the Phela-Live Wellness Center on Friday while all games have been played at the St Juliana Conference center in Manzini.

The event has attracted 70 participants from 8 different countries and sees the top 32 players participating in the Prestige section with a further 38 participating in the Open!

CM Musatwe Simutowe from Zambia currently shares the lead on 3.5/4 with FM Alice Mateus from Mozambique and Zwakala Ntando from South Africa. Musa and Mateus will lock horns on board 1 tomorrow morning in what could prove to be a decisive game.

Zwakala faces Elisha Chimbamu from Zimbabwe on board 2 but there are a further 6 players within half a point of the lead. With 4 main prizes on offer, the last two rounds should be very interesting.

Latest standings for the Prestige section as well as the round 5 pairings are available at
http://chess-results.com/tnr280270.aspx?lan=1

14:07, Friday, 19th May, 2017

Mr Charles Lorng, the man who will manage the local operations of MiniChess Côte d'Ivoire has arrived in South Africa for 2 months of intensive training. Cote d'Ivoire is one of the four African countries selected for support by KCF Francophone and the country has elected to adopt the MiniChess program to drive the development of the game of chess within their local schools.

MiniChess Cote d'Ivoire has now been successfully registered as a separate legal entity and will have a permanent staff compliment and a team of trainers. This team will be responsible for popularizing the game of chess in schools throughout the country.

Charles arrived in South Africa on Sunday 15 May and spent his first week in the field working at 4 different schools that form part of the Spark group. He will also be spending time in the MiniChess head office in Pretoria where he will get hands on experience with the of running a local MiniChess business.

Charles is scheduled to stay in South Africa for almost two months and during which time he will also attend the Minichess Business Symposium and Color Accounting course. He is working directly for the founder of the MiniChess franchise, Mrs Marisa van der Merwe which should ensure that he acquires the necessary skills to preside over the destinies of the children of Cote d'Ivoire.

Côte d'Ivoire is the first country in French-speaking West Africa to acquire a MiniChess franchise and will hopefully pave the way for roll-outs in many other West Africa countries in the near future.

We welcome Charles to South Africa and wish him luck with the training!

07:58, Friday, 19th May, 2017

Mr Gilles Betthaeuser, chairman of Kasparov Chess Foundation Francophone, recently visited Madagascar in order to meet with the MiniChess Madagascar team and see the program in action in the schools across the country.

KCF Francophone is now supporting the Madagascar program financially and is expected to shortly expand its reach to other African countries including Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Morroco.

During his trip, Gilles visited 7 of the Minichess schools and inspected the MiniChess material including the chess sets, boards, learner workbooks and teacher aide packs. He also spent time with the leadership of the MiniChess team in Madagascar to understand their future plans.

Minichess Madagascar is currently operational in 16 schools and now has operations in Antananarivo, Miarinarivo and Toliara. They have continued to expand their reach and now train a total of 1,675 learners on a weekly basis across the country.

KCF Africa would like to extend our humble thanks to Gilles and the team at KCF Francophone for supporting the program in Madagascar and we look forward to working closely with them to introduce the program to other African francophone countries in the near future.

13:42, Monday, 15th May, 2017

The 2017 Rwanda Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament will feature some of the top players from East Africa in a strong regional event offering more than 700,000 Rwf in prize money. International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley will be the special guest and will conduct coaching sessions and exhibitions during the event.

Full details are available in the event brochure at http://www.kcfafrica.com/sites/default/files/Poster%20-%20GMCT%202017%20...

13:07, Monday, 15th May, 2017

The 2017 Rwanda Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament will take place at the Classic Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda from the 9th - 11th July 2017.

International GM Maurice Ashley will be in attendance this year as he will be in the country as part of the Chess Masters for Africa Tour at the same time that the event takes place!

The tournament is looking to build on the 2016 Rwanda Open which saw players from Kenya, Burundi and the DRC participating in what was the first international event ever hosted in Rwanda

The full tournament brochure can be downloaded at http://www.kcfafrica.com/sites/default/files/Poster%20-%20GMCT%202017%20... and online entries are now open for all sections at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5t-Xd4onHfGRWdC8gD54FdweG_M_s....

The players list will be maintained on chess-results and players who register are asked to confirm there entries at
http://chess-results.com/tnr281585.aspx?lan=1 within 1-2 days of registering. Local players are required to pay in advance while foreign based players may pay entry fees on arrival. Entry is free for international players with a FIDE rating in excess of 2200+.

Foreign based players who would like assistance to secure accommodation either at the Classic Hotel or at nearby budget hotels are asked to contact Mr Alain Niyibizi or Mr Kevin Ganza who will be happy to assist where required.

13:39, Saturday, 13th May, 2017

A few months ago shared a post regarding the Gambia Youth Chess Tournament where the local organizers were requesting support to assist with funding for the tournament. The request proved to be very successful and a total of USD 2,484 was raised in response to the request for funding support which was posted at https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/project/2017-gambia-youth-chess-tou...

The first Gambia Youth Chess Tournament has now been successfully concluded and brought together boys and girls from across the country in an environment of fun and competition. Participants were able to test their skills and make connections with other young people and with the local organizers.

Participants were selected from children trained in the Chess For the Gambia project. For the last year, this project has offered over 160 children in rural villages the opportunity to train and practice through play and through workshops.

The tournament was run by a group of US Peace Corps volunteers who are currently based in the country. They have been organizing a chess education program for rural communities in the country and have found a lot of interest for chess in the Gambia.

By working together, they managed to secure a $3,000 State Dept. gender development grant to buy sets and then went on to raise the additional funds they needed through the website to fund the youth chess tournament.

Its always encouraging to here stories like this and we wish to thank US Peace Corp volunteer Zachary Smith for sharing the pictures and story with us.

18:06, Thursday, 11th May, 2017

We are always happy to learn that our donations are being put to good use and this has definitely been the case in Somalia where the 600 chess boards and sets sent by KCF Africa are clearly making a major impact.

On the 20th April 2017, the Somali Chess Federation donated some of this chess equipment to schools under the supervision of the Association of Chess Players in Somalia.

The event was held at the Hotel Shammo in Mogadishu and was graced by the presence of the President of the Somalia Chess Federation, Dr Hassan Abdi, the Federation Secretary Mr Mohammed Abdi Mohammed, the President of the Somalia Olympic Committee, Mr Abdulaahi Ahmed Tarabi and the President of the Somalia Chess Players Association, Mr Cabduqaadir Nur Buttis. There were also various representatives from the schools as well as many local chess players.

Thirteen schools in total benefited and received 5 clocks and 30 boards each. They were broken into two groups as follows:

Schools under Dugsiga Jaabir Bin Xayaan:
1. Macallin Jaamac
2. Faraca Jardiinka
3. Faraca S.bacaad
4. Faraca Juungal
5. Faraca Ceel qalow
6. Faraca Nasteexo

Schools under the control of the Banaadir Zone Foundation:
7. Banadir zone Wadajir
8. Banadir zone Karaan
9. Banadir zone Shibis
10. Banadir zone Yaqshiid primary school
11. Banadir zone Yaqshid secondary school
12. Banadir zone primary girls’ school
13. Banadir zone secondary girls’ school

We wish to thank the Somali Chess Federation and the Somalia Chess Players Association for partnering with us and congratulate them on the great strides being made to being chess into the local schools in Somalia.

10:48, Thursday, 11th May, 2017

IM Arthur Ssegwanyi conducted the second CMAT training visit to Rwanda between Sunday 30th April and Saturday 6th May.

The following report was received from Mr Alain Niyibizi, Secretary General of the Rwanda Chess Federation and Country Manager for the KCF Africa MiniChess project in Rwanda.

"Report from visit of IM Arthur Ssegwanyi to Rwanda"

IM Arthur Ssegwanyi arrived in Kigali on Saturday 29th April and held his first formal training session on Sunday morning. His first session focused on chess openings and simple mistakes to avoid during this phase of the game. In the afternoon he spent time on essential endgames for players of below 1600 strength.

Monday saw a second full day of training with the focus being on positional understanding. A large variety of positions were analysed together with the group.

Tuesday saw Arthur holding his first one on one sessions with 4 of the trainees. In the afternoon, this first small group visited a school called Green Hills Academy where Mrs Christella, one of our trainees, is a permanent sport's teacher. We interacted with a group of children aged between 7 and 12 and paid a courtesy visit to the principal of the school who was happy to receive us and expressed his appreciation for the visit.

On Wednesday 3 May, the Rwanda Chess Federation was blessed by the visit of the Indian Grandmaster Sriram Jha who stopped in Kigali on his way home after competing in the Capablanca IM Norm tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa. His flight schedule allowed him to spend one day with us and we used the opportunity to visit Kigali Hope Academy with both IM Arthur and GM Sriram. Together, they encouraged the kids and held a short coaching session before they both participated in a simultaneous match against some of the top Rwanda players. They played against 6 players each with GM Sriram winning all 6 of his matches and IM Arthur scoring 5/6.

Following the departure of GM Jha on Wednesday night, IM Arthur held another round of one on one sessions on Thursday morning. In the evening, we then visited Riviera High School where the local students are all between 12 and 16 years old. They are an active bunch who are eager to know the game of chess. Since the group consists totally of beginners, IM Arthur did a quick recap on the piece movements and explained the differences between Check, Checkmate and Stalemate.

Friday saw the final round of one on one sessions concluded with the last group of 4 trainees.

Saturday was the last day with IM Arthur and he spent this day again working on positional understanding in the morning. The afternoon session was then spent showing the trainees how to get the most out of their software packages such as Chessbase 14.

We are extremely grateful to IM Arthur for sharing his knowledge with us and we hope that he enjoyed his time in Rwanda.

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