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.

19:47, Sunday, 11th June, 2017

The highly competitive Genocide Memorial Chess tournament has come to an end with the Ugandan quartet of FM Haruna Nsubuga, Mathias Ssonko, FM Harold Wanyama and Simon Gonza tying for first place after all 4 players ended on 5/6.

The final round saw Haruna and Mathias face off against each other in what could have been the deciding clash on board 1 but their clash ended in a fighting draw which allowed Harold and Simon to catch them by virtue of their wins in round 5.

Uganda's Ivy Kayesu dominated the ladies section and won easily with a score of 3/6.

One of the main goals of this event was to help players get FIDE and URS ratings and in this area the event proved a major success. All 40 participants in the International section will have a URS rating on the 1 July while initial FIDE ratings were earned by Ivan Mugisha from Uganda, Ivan Mugisha from Rwanda, Solomon Nsabimana from Rwanda and Francis Mutoni from Burundi!

In addition, Eliphaz Ben Karenzi , Ivy Kayesu, Gisa Karenzi
and John Mukalazi all earned partial FIDE rating results from the tournament.

In the open section, the Ugandan's were again dominant with Samuel Were and Ugandan Chess Federation President, Emmanuel Mwaka tying for first place with 5.5/6 each. Joselyne Uwase from Rwanda scored 4/6 in this section to end as the highest placed female in the section.

The event was boosted by the presence of GM Maurice Ashley who was in the country for the Chess Masters tour and a full report on Maurice's visits to both Rwanda and Namibia will follow in due course.

We wish to congratulate all the winners as well as arbiter Duke Machieka and the Rwanda Chess Federation who hosted an excellent event. Final results are available at http://chess-results.com/tnr281585.aspx?lan

08:04, Saturday, 10th June, 2017

A total of 75 players from 7 different federations have arrived at the Classic Hotel to participate in the 2017 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament currently under way in Kigali in Rwanda.

The international field is headed by a strong contingent of more than 15 players from Uganda and sees FM's Patrick Kawuma (2313), Harold Wanyama (2250) and Haruna Nsubuga (2217) start as the rating favorites. The tournament has also attracted players from Burundi, Kenya, Congo, USA and England and sees GM Maurice Ashley on-site today. Maurice will be assisting the tournament participants with their post-game analysis and providing training and advise between rounds.

We wish to congratulate the Rwanda Chess Federation on the excellent organisation which has managed to attract a truly multi-national field. Results and pairings from both the international and the open section can be followed at http://chess-results.com/tnr281585.aspx?lan=1.

15:10, Wednesday, 7th June, 2017

The 3rd and final round of the CMAT training tours saw GM Pontus Carlsson visiting both Tanzania and Kenya between the 4th and 18th May.

During his sessions in Tanzania Pontus covered various aspects which are important to improve the strength of a chess player including concentration, calculation, knowledge, strategy and following idols that fit your style. He also covered the topic of planning in detail, and stressed that it is better to have a bad plan than no plan at all.

In addition to the group training sessions he also visited Helasita Secondary School where boards and clocks where donated and where he trained and motivated the local students.

When his trip to Tanzania has ended he flew to Kenya where he worked with a group of 12 trainees consisting of Phillip Singe, Ian King, Brian Kariuki, Paul Ombui, Ricky Sang
Ronald Bolo, Martin Njoroge, Shem Vilembwa, Terrence Chazima, Timothy Omondi, Joyce Nyaruai, Roselinda Irungu
Wilberforce Gitau and Anthony Kionga. This brought the total number of trainees that have been trained in Kenya as part of the CMAT program to 36!

In both Tanzania and Kenya, Pontus was accompanied by Teresa Pribanova from Chess in Schools and Communities in the UK. Tereza accompanied the team on their visits to the local schools and will be reporting back to CSC on the progress being achieved.

The group visited the Mukuru Kwa Njenga Slums where MiniChess Kenya has 3 pilot programs with 100 learners drawn from three Redroof School, Highview Academy and the Imara Daima SDA Primary School. These programs are sponsored by CSC UK and KCF Africa and is run as a collaboration between MiniChess Kenya and Sports Outreach Ministries. Pontus and Tereza visited all three schools and had a chance to experience the MiniChess classes first-hand. The duo also met with the Sports Outreach Ministries director, Pastor Francis Juma as well as with Eng. Robert Katende who was in Kenya at the time conducting his own training sessions on behalf of Sports Outreach Ministries.

The Joint Training Sessions in Kneya were again held at Lotos Inn and Suites. During his sessions Pontus gave lessons on:
- Opening, Middle-game and End-game themes and drills
- Training techniques and resources
- Training etiquette and checklists; and
- Strategy games like Rocket Chess and Suicide Chess!

The training was featured and reported on by KBC TV News with a nice report that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/lyUkiiOlz9U

The final 3 days in Kenya were used to create personal training plans and evaluations for each individual trainee. Pontus used these sessions to identify areas for improvement and prescribed books and videos as homework.

Along with the trainees, he then visited 3 further CMAT partner schools where he met with the school administrators, donated equipment and oversaw coaching sessions. These sessions gave an opportunity to assess each trainees ability to teach and provide them with pointers.

School visits were conducted to Ngara Girls High School, Dagoretti Boys High School and Nairobi Milimani School and Pontus also managed to slip in a visit to the Motor Sports Chess Club in South C during one of the nights. In this session he was able to mingle with some of the club's players while delivering some lessons over the board.

The trainees in both Kenya and Tanzania have been greatly empowered by the trip and we look forward to seeing the fruits of this labor as they now start the process of training in their own local schools and communities.

11:58, Monday, 5th June, 2017

GM Maurice Ashley departs New York this morning for the start of his 20+ hour journey to Kigali in Rwanda. He is scheduled to conduct the final leg of the Chess Masters for Africa tour in Rwanda.

Maurice will be in Kigali until Sunday morning and will be the guest of honor during the Rwanda Genocide Memorial Tournament. This KCF sponsored event takes place at the Classic Hotel and has attracted a number of top players from Uganda and Kenya who are expected to provide some stiff opposition for the locals who are also seeking the title.

All tournament participants will have an opportunity to learn from Maurice as he has a number of open classes scheduled during the course of the event.

After finishing his schedule in Rwanda, Maurice will move on to Windhoek in Namibia where he will again conduct training sessions for the local CMAT trainees. He will then travel to both Paris and Leuven where he will again be anchoring the on-site commentary teams for the Grand Chess Tour rapid and blitz events.

We wish to welcome Maurice back to Africa and we wish him luck in both countries.

Entries for the Rwanda Genocide Memorial Tournament are still open and further information and links to the online entries are available at https://www.facebook.com/events/266156457126863/?acontext=%7B%22source%2...

Players wishing to follow all the action from the tournament can do so at http://chess-results.com/tnr281585.aspx?lan=1

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

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

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.