Chess tourney on Sunday

07 July 2019 | Sports

The Namibia Chess Federation (NCF) hosts a tournament at Cramers in Windhoek on Sunday, where 180 chess players face each other in five sections: Beginners for kids under 10 years; beginners; amateurs; professionals; and the madala section which is dedicated to the parents of chess kids.

In an interview with Nampa earlier this week, NCF president Israel Shilongo said that the tournament is rated according to the World Chess Federation ratings, hence it is expected to be tough. He said the registration process is complete and all the registered participants, including top Namibian chess players, have confirmed their participation. They include current Namibian champion Dante Beukes, ladies national champion Nicola Tjaronda, former women national champion Lischen Mentile, as well as seven-time national champion, Charles Eichab.

“We start at 09:00 and call on chess fans to come and witness the tournament which is being played in an open space. Fifteen players are on standby in case one of the registered participants fail to make it,” Shilongo said, adding that they would like to make this an annual event.

The tournament is sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank and participants receive medals and cash worth N$5 000.

Growing sport

Shilongo said that the sport is growing in the regions as more people are starting to embrace it. “We’ve hosted open tournaments around the country. Last weekend we had a tournament in Opuwo and we had double the numbers from the previous years,” he said.

The NCF is also ploughing back by availing chess sets and training coaches in small towns to help them grow. “At the moment we have over 20 coaches countrywide – a significant increase from the six in the past two years.”

Namibian chess players have been making waves in international tournaments, with the latest being two gold medals at a Uganda’s schools tournament earlier this week. The medals came from the u/11 and u/17 participants.

Namibia also attended this year’s White Rook Chess Tournament in Sochi in June, where four players participated for the first time.

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