The Egyptian Chess Federation, under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation and the World Chess Federation invited all African Chess federations to participate in the 2015 African Individual Chess Championships. The delegations arrived in Cairo on May 1st, a total of 52 players (30 in the Open section and 22 in the Women's) from 11 federations: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. Almost all the top players of the continent were present for this very strong tournament, on the field were 5 GMs, 3 WGMs, 11 IMs and 6 WIMs, ready to fight on the boards for the 6 champions titles: Classic, Rapid and Blitz for Open and Women, not to forget the qualification spots for the Chess World Cup 2015.
The event started on the following day, May 2nd by the opening ceremony conducted by the Egyptian Chess Federation President, Dr Hesham Elgendy, with the attendance of the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, the General Secretary of the African Chess Confederation, Enyonam Sewa Fumey of Togo. After all the delegations were welcomed and wished a marvellous stay in Egypt, the Chief Arbiter, Chanda Nsakanya of Zambia, assisted by Omar Salama of Egypt went throughout the regulations and discussed all the technical matters with the players. An appeals committee was appointed chaired by Bechir Messaoudi from Tunisia.
A good surprise for everybody was the announcement that top boards games will be live on internet: the first five boards in the Open section and the first two in the Women's! Games can be reviewed with analysis on http://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2015-africa.
After the first four rounds, the free day, May 5th, consisted in visiting the big city of Cairo with a tour of the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx. The organisers provided bus and guides.
9 tough and disputed rounds later in the Open section at the rate of 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game with an increment of 30 secons per move from move one, Egyptian players GM Amin Bassem and GM Adly Ahmed tied for the first place with 7/9 points each but Amin won the trophy and the gold medal by a superior tie-break score. IM Arab Adlane from Algeria emerged clear third with 6.5 points for the bronze medal.
On the Women side, WGM Mona Khaled of Egypt stormed through the tournament and took the trophy. Algerian players WIM Mezioud Amina and WIM Latreche Sabrina shared second place with 6.5 points each.
GM Amin Bassem from Egypt and WIM Mezioud Amina from Algeria were crowned 2015 African Rapid Chess Champions respectively in the Open and Women sections.
The 2015 African Blitz Champions were: for the Open GM Adly Ahmed and for the Women WIM Mezioud Amina.
Aside the competition, a FIDE Arbiters' Seminar and a refreshing course for Arbiters was organised from 8 to 12 May. The lecturer was IA Geurt Gijssen from Netherlands assisted by IA Omar Salama of Egypt, member of FIDE Arbiters' Commission. The language of the seminar was English and Arabic.
On the evening of 12 May, was held the closing ceremony with the presence of the African Chess Confederation President Lewis Ncube; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Egypt, the former Continental President Lakhdar Mazouz, member of the Advisory Panel of FIDE among other dignitaries. In his closing speech, the Continental President congratulated the Egyptian Chess Federation for the successful hosting of the event and addressed special thankings to all the African Chess players without who there could be no Chess event in Africa. He invited everybody to continue promoting the noble game by all possible means while the Continental and International Chess bodies will try to offer the best accompaniment. After the crowning of the various champions, Egyptian Chess Federation President, Dr Hesham Elgendy wished a safe trip back home to all the participants.
All results of the three championships (Classic, Rapid and Blitz) for Open and Women on http://chess-results.com/fed.aspx?lan=20&fed=EGY
For more pictures, please visit the African Chess Confederation facebook page.
African Individual Chess Championships: