ZIMBABWE Chess Federation (ZCF) has been granted the right to host the 2017 African Schools Individual Chess Championships for the first time.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The tournament held under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation (ACC) is set for August 19-27 at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare.
At least 400 chess players, from 16 African countries, affiliated to the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (Fide) also known as the World Chess Federation are expected to take part in the annual event.
ZCF public relations director Keith Mugozori confirmed the development to Sports World, adding that preparations for the successful hosting of the event were already underway.
“For the African Chess Confederation to give us this mandate shows that there are a lot of things we are doing right for chess in this country. Initially, we expected about 250 contestants but with the overwhelming enquiries flooding in about the event, the number should balloon to at least 400 kids,” he said.
“The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on behalf of the ZCF has already kindly advised the Ministry of Sport and Recreation by way of a letter to effectuate an inter-ministerial platform whose thrust is to ensure that the staging of this huge event is successful.”
The National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) is angling to ensure that local schools select the best chess players to represent Zimbabwe at the annual continental competition after succesfully holding their National Chess Championships in Marondera three months ago.
Students from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and hosts Zimbabwe will grace the occasion.
“In light of this momentous occurrence, the ZCF kindly asks all stakeholders and other well-wishers to support it in the hosting of this event. By virtue of hosting the event, Zimbabwe is going to be put on the world chess map as well as earn an opportunity to showcase its hospitality to young Africans, who are expected to bring business to the tourism industry,” Mugozori said.
The African Schools Individual Chess Championships are a developmental continental youth tournament for players under the age of 17, comprising Under-7, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17.
The event is a World Chess Federation and African Chess Confederation initiative aimed at aiding the African national federations’ grassroots development efforts through high profile tournament play, coaching and exposure.
Winners of each age group will get the right to participate in the 2017 World Schools’ Individual Chess Championships.