International Chess Federation (FIDE) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told the media on Wednesday that Zimbabwe has submitted bids for the right to host the 2021 World Chess Cup and the 2022 Chess Olympiad and the tournaments could be held under the Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls.
Ilyumzhinov, a Russian, told his country’s TASS news agency in Moscow on his return from Zimbabwe where he attended the African Chess Federation Congress on the sidelines of of the African Schools Individual Chess Championships in Harare.
“It can be held right under the Victoria Falls and imagine how beautiful it would be,” TASS news agency quotes Ilyumzhinov as saying.
Located in southern Africa on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls is one of the world’s largest waterfalls, which is over 1,700 metres in width and reaches the height of over 100 metres.
TASS reports that Ilyumzhinov said he was impressed that there is a great interest Zimbabwe in the game of chess.
“It will be enough to say that starting next year all schools in Zimbabwe are introducing compulsory chess classes.”
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president confirmed that it was reported at the Harare African Chess Federation Congress that Zimbabwe indeed submitted the bids to host the two main world chess tournaments.
He also said he had a long private discussion with the FIDE president, who then donated 250 chess sets and 50 clock to be used by Chessam for its youth development programme.
“They already arrived in the country by DHL two days ago awaiting clearance by MRA. We will be getting another lot of chess equipment by early next year for chess in schools.
“He has accepted that we should look for an office and he will pay rentals for us and that he will sponsor a Grand Master to come and train Malawi’s Olympiad team early next year for one month.
“As a result we will conduct our Olympiad selection by December,” Msukwa said.
Malawi has attended in all the Chess Olympiads since 2006 in Turin, Italy; 2008 in Dresden, Germany; 2010 in Khanty Mansisky Russian; 2012 in Ankara; Turkey; 2014 in Oslo, Norway and 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Some of the players that represented Malawi include Joseph Chalemba, Innocent Salanjira, Alfred Chimthere, Leornard Shara, Malama Mwanza, Chiletso Chipanga, Fishern Mwagomba, Chuma Mwale, Petros Mfune and James Kamowa.
Lady representarives include Royce Msiska, Ndawonga Mwale, Linda Jambo, Vitumbiko Godwe
Chessam has youth chess development programme in schools under the tutelage of Margret Ngungama, the national schools chess coordinator.
She told Nyasa Times that Chessam shall continue doing development programmes in all areas.
“Currently, through various sponsors, we have schools chess development programs which include MT Lodge paying school fees sponsorship for best players in Mangochi, chess training classes at Lilongwe Golf Club and Jungle Pepper in Blantyre.
“We have training sessions in various schools in Mzuzu and I would like to encourage all active chess instructors to continue doing the great work that they are doing to raise the standard of chess in all regions.”
Four youths represented Malawi at the African Schools Individual Chess Championships in Harare where 11-year-old Yebo Sanga of St. Columba Primary School in Blantyre won five of the nine rounds — breaking his record from precious participation in Zambia last year.
Eight-year-old Daniel Kondowe of Chibavi Primary in Mzuzu scored four rounds, 9-year-old Kezzie Msukwa Jnr from Wongani Primary School in Mzuzu scored three rounds while Tinna Kumwenda (17) of Masasa Community Day Secondary School, also of Mzuzu scored two.