15:55, Thursday, 6th September, 2018

Another MiniChess pilot program started running in Dar es Salaam in February 2018. The program started at Zanaki Primary School. This school became the first centre in Tanzania to start empowering the young minds in their care through the beautiful game of chess.

The program was initially accepted by the school to run as a once a week class of 45 minutes and it had 35 Grade 1 students attending using the sports period slot. A second group of 30 Grade 1 students has now joined the award winning program from the same school and two classes per week program are now being run.

The SOS Children Village also accepted the same proposal and they have a further 35 learners aged between 5-9 years participating. These classes are conducted once during each weekend as the SOS Village is dedicated to work with children who have lost parental care or are at risk of doing so. SOS provides a loving home for every child and they give the children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family and help them shape their own futures.

The pilot program lectures are being delivered by CM Nurdin Hassuji who is certified level one MiniChess trainer as well as the Secretary General of the Tanzania Chess Federation. He has already delivered more than a third of the level 1 program lessons and learners are enjoying it very much and always excited for the next class.

Nurdin is actively working on identifying local sponsors to further expand the program and he is also approaching more affluent schools who have the capability of funding the program on their own. We wish him luck as he continues to pioneer the MiniChess program in the heart of one of the largest countries in East Africa!

15:41, Monday, 3rd September, 2018

A KCF Africa pilot chess initiative in Zambia has slowly been gathering traction over the last few months and the program has resulted in 6 new chess clubs being created at 6 local primary schools in Livingston, Zambia.

Each club is staff with a locally based trainer who has been tasked with training the children and young adults attending the club. Lessons are provided twice a week with some of the classes attracting in excess of 100 pupils.
A total of 715 pupils are currently participating with each school having been equipped with between 30 and 50 chess boards and sets, as well as clocks and demonstration boards.

The participating schools are Mujala Primary, Zambezi Primary; Libuyu Primary; Maria Assumpta Primary; Nakatindi Primary and Highlands Primary. The local trainers are Bright Muyenga, Anna Mbewe, and Joster Kandandwe. Bright and Anna both relocated from Lusaka in May to help start the program and all three trainers have already had an incredible impact on the lives of the children that are participating in the program.

The program is the result of a collaboration between KCF Africa and the Chris Flowers Family Foundation which also does invaluable work fighting Malaria in Zimbabwe, Zambia. Angola and Namibia. The local trainers have also received support from the Zone 5 Chairman Mr Habeenzu Mweetwa and from the local branches of the Anglican Diocese.

The Flowers Foundation were recently able to send one of their key employees (Ms Rebecca Buffington) to visit the schools. Rebecca visited two locations and spent time with the trainers, teachers, headmasters and pupils. They were able to provide her with first-hand feedback and also showcase a small portion of the the work that they have managed to cover since the launched in May 2018.

A sister program is expected to launch on the Zimbabwe side of the border later this month and we expect to see in excess of 1500 learners benefiting as soon as the schools in Victoria Falls start the program. In time, we expect opportunities to arise to allow for cross border school tournaments and this is already something that is being planned for the course of the 2019 calendar year.

KCF Africa would like to extend our humble thanks to the Flowers Foundation for taking hands with us and we look forward to watching this exciting new program grow and develop in the future!

11:23, Tuesday, 31st July, 2018

The final day of the CIV Invitational was always going to be about the battle for the minor places as GM Bassem Amin had established an insurmountable 7-point lead heading into the final day.

It was a day filled with tension with thousands of US$ on the line and many of the players were visibly under pressure towards the latter half of the day. In the end, the quality of the GM's was on display as GM Mohammed Amine Haddouche and GM Kenny Solomon held their nerve to end second and third respectively.

GM Haddouche had a particularly good final day which saw him score an undefeated 7.5/9 on the day. This was enough to see him climb to a total of 24/36 and comfortably secure second place by a margin of 4 points in the end.

Kenny had a roller-coaster ride on the final day after starting with back to back losses against IM Andrew Kayonde and IM David Silva. He then found himself under pressure again in round 3 and only narrowly held the draw against IM Fy Rakotaomaharo. He decided that drastic measures were required and hurried up to his room to change his shirt in the hope of changing his luck! It proved to be an inspired decision as he immediately inflicted the first loss of the entire tournament on GM Bassem. Despite a late loss to GM Haddouche in blitz round 17, he held his nerve against IM Arthur Ssegwanyi in the final round to secure 3rd place by a narrow 1/2 point margin.

IM David Silva from Angola was probably the revelation of the blitz portion of the event and his incredible speed was once again on display as he made another impressive showing on day 5. David's combined score of 12/18 in the blitz segment was sufficient to see him place 2nd behind Bassem in this portion of the tournament and he earned himself more than 100 Blitz Rating points en-route to securing 4th place and a $2000 payday.

IM Moklis El Adnani had been the early tournament leader on day 1 but a few tough days in the middle had seen him deep in the fight for the final cashing place. Under pressure early in the day he had to dig deep but he won 3 out of his last 4 games (including a win against Bassem) in order to snatch 5th place and the final prize of $1,000.

IM Andrew Kayonde and IM Fy Rakotomaharo where both also in contention for most of the final day and both will be satisfied with their performances as they ended 6th and 7th respectively. GM Slim Belkhodja also recovered well from his disappointment in the rapid segment as he ended in 8th place overall.

IM Adu and IM Ssegwanyi may be disappointed with their final positions but both were competitive throughout and both were integral to the overall success of the tournament.

As KCF Africa we were extremely proud to be associated with a tournament of this exceptional standard and we need to acknowledge the contributions of Dr Essoh Essis and his team at FIDEC as well as the teams from African Chess Media, Chess24, FollowChess. We also want to acknowledge the personal contributions to the tournament by IA Stephane Escafre from France, IA Lekan Adeyemi from Nigeria and WGM Alina L'Ami from Romania. In addition, we would be remiss not to acknowledge Ben Simon, GM Robert Hungaski and the entire Broadcast team at the St Louis Chess Club who brought the event to light with their daily broadcast coverage.

Events like this cannot take place without funding and the incredible contribution of Vivendi SA as well as the support received from the Centre De Promotion Des Investissements en Cote d'Ivoire must also be acknowledged.This tournament has been an incredible team effort and has resulted in extensive media coverage which cannot fail to enhance the development of top level chess on the African Continent moving forward

Full links for the tournament results, PGN Files, closing interviews and daily broadcasts are provided below for anyone interested in the final standings.

Final standings and PGN Games Files
Rapid (including 45 PGN Games)
http://chess-results.com/tnr368604.aspx?lan=1&art=1

Blitz (including 90 PGN Games)
http://chess-results.com/tnr367768.aspx?lan=1&art=1&flag=30Chess24

Chess 24 tournament page with complete games and final standings
https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/civ-rapid-and-blitz-2018

Playlist of player interviews with the St Louis Chess Club
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz9oVX4h5krG1sSmkkaGCncrX7HhEJ4VB

Playlist of Pre-Tournament Player Interviews
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz9oVX4h5krH4Q7C2-PGqUmXekVMhJbB_

Playlist of full daily broadcasts from St Louis Chess Club
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl4CwCCmr2w&list=PLVWaFpMwtaGiTlXCbIxbep...

A final report of consolidated media links as well as details of the various activities that ran in parallel with the tournament will be compiled later this week.

06:57, Monday, 30th July, 2018

Day 1 of the Blitz at the CIV Invitational saw a dominant performance by GM Bassem Amin as he recorded an impressive 8/9 to take a commanding 7 point lead into the final days play. It was a day of sorrow for a number of other top contenders however as they failed to keep up with the blistering pace set by Bassem.

This nevertheless set up an exciting final day's play as a tight battle emerged for the remaining prize earning places.
The Africa Chess Media report on this critical days play is published and available at
https://africachessmedia.com/2018/07/29/2018-civ-rapid-and-blitz-invitat... with photos courtesy of WGM Alina L'Ami as always.

08:48, Sunday, 29th July, 2018

Day 3 of the CIV Rapid and Blitz tournament in Abidjan saw GM Bassem Amin establish his dominance and emerge as the clear leader.

African Chess News is following the tournament daily and their excellent day three report can be accessed at
https://africachessmedia.com/2018/07/28/civ-invitational-rapid-and-blitz...

We also wish to again thank WGM Alina L'Ami who continues to provide us with amazing images to help bring the tournament to life

10:38, Saturday, 28th July, 2018

The 10 participants at the 2018 CIV Rapid & Blitz Invitational were interviewed by WGM Alina L' Ami prior to the start of the tournament. These interviews provide a fascinating glimpse into the minds of the top players on the continent.

Alina's wide ranging questions covered standard topics including where the players currently live and where they were born, how and when they learned the game, and whether they think chess be a full time profession in their country and on the African continent.

She also asked event specific questions such as:
- How did you prepare for this event?
- How do you rate your chances in the tournament?
- Will you play better in the rapid or the blitz?
- What is your prognosis for the top 3 places?
- What does it mean to you to participate in this GCT style tournament? and
- How important are tournaments like this for chess in Africa?

At the end, some of the players were also asked for their predictions for the upcoming match in London between Caruana and Carlsen as well as who they would like to see as the next President of FIDE (Short, Dvorkovich or Makropoulos).

All 10 interviews are now posted on the KCF Africa YouTube Channel which can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYGat_LojOP0opyvD6sy1tg

The individual interviews can be access through the links below for anyone interested in getting a fuller appreciation for the players participating in this great event:

GM Bassem Amin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOo5-jDFFEc

GM Kenny Solomon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwVHesGkDFM&t=100s

GM Amine Haddouche
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a0fxK012BM

GM Slim Belkhodja
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8azXSSi3noU&t=1s

IM Andrew Kayonde
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0sdHaZZuc&t=35s

IM Fy Rakotomaharo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ABvF54gtgk&t=4s

IM Mokhliss El Adnani
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYzqhlc6UIU

IM Oladapu Adu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSJp82RHaUE

IM Arthur Ssegwanyi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SNyplS6B0Y

IM David Silva
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqtGVU2crXA

14:35, Friday, 27th July, 2018

Day 2 of the CIV Rapid and Blizt Invitiational was moving day and there has been a shake-up at the top of the standings after a day that saw 11 of the 15 games end in decisive results.

African Chess Media are covering the event in great detail and another excellent report from their CEO, Babatunde Ogunsiku has now been published on their main page at
https://africachessmedia.com/2018/07/27/the-civ-invitational-rapid-day-ii/

Live games from the last day of the rapid portion will start again at 3pm local time (GMT). All games can be followed at
https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/civ-rapid-and-blitz-2018/7... and on the FollowChess App as well.

Results, Pairings and PGN files can be downloaded from
http://chess-results.com/tnr367763.aspx?lan=1 while the day 3 live broadcast from the St Louis Studio will commence once again at 17.45 local time and can be accessed directly at
https://youtu.be/et-wnSnQvEM

The amazing images coming from Abidjan are all courtesy of WGM Alina L'Ami and her work will no doubt feature as part of the reports on a number of the major global chess websites in due course.

There are still 3 players tied at the top at the end of the second days play and they will no doubt be fighting to establish dominance as they move towards the blitz portion that will take place over the course of the weekend!

15:24, Thursday, 26th July, 2018

Day 1 of the CIV Rapid & Blitz Invitational was completed yesterday in Abidjan and a comprehensive report has been posted by African Chess Media.

The report is available from their website at
https://africachessmedia.com/2018/07/26/the-civ-invitational-rapid-and-b...

Results and pairings from
http://chess-results.com/tnr367763.aspx?lan=1

And live games can be followed at
https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/civ-rapid-and-blitz-2018/4...

Day 2 is now underway with round 4 currently in progress. The rapid games are played at 15.00, 16.30 and 18.00 daily (GMT) until Friday and then at 30 minute intervals for the blitz rounds over the weekend.

The tournament was officially opened by Dr Essoh Essis from the Ivorian Chess Federation.

The broadcast show for day 2 will once again feature Ben Simon and GM Robert Hanguski and will start from 17.45 at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjFl7PDgC-U

We wish all players well for todays games

10:50, Tuesday, 24th July, 2018

GM David Smerdon’s reflections on his recent Kenya visit show his deep interest in chess development despite his work commitments!

19:01, Monday, 8th January, 2018

GM Hikaru Nakamura successfully completed one of the largest simultaneous exhibitions ever held in South Africa as he took on a total of 101 opponents as his last major activity associated with his visit to the 2017 South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC).

His opponents largely consisted of a determined set of youngsters including some of the best junior players in the country. Few were willing to give him an easy ride and none wanted to be the first to finish.

The full event lasted a mammoth 6 hours and saw Naka play in excess of 3000 moves while covering a distance of close to 4.5 km's. He eventually scored 92 wins and conceded 7 draws and 2 losses.

The two successful players were 17 year old Khanya Mazibuko from Tshwane and 14 year old Alexander van der Merwe from Western Province. Alexander found a nice tactical combination to win his game while Khanya earned his win the hard way as he finally converted the point in the final game to finish the event.

KCF Africa would specifically like to acknowledge Mr David Swartz from SWVG Attorneys for his contribution towards making the exhibition and tour a reality. We also wish to thank Tanda Tula game lodge in the Timbavati National Park for generously offering their facilities to Hikaru as he continues to explore South Africa over the next few weeks.

Hikaru will now remain in South Africa for another few days and will be spending some vacation time on Safari and in Cape Town before he returns to Gibraltar to defend the prestigious title he won at this tournament in 2017. We would like to wish him luck with his title defense and we thank him for the incredible contribution he has made to the players who have been privileged to interact with him over the last 5-6 days.

Credit for all photos goes to Lennart Ootes who has been capturing all proceedings for the 2017 tournament on behalf of the local organizing committee.

His incredible photos which form a fantastic digital catalog of the entire tournament are available on his personal Flikr account at https://www.flickr.com/photos/42731673@N06/albums and from the official Facebook page of the SAJCC tournament at https://www.facebook.com/SOUTHAFRICANJUNIORCHESSCHAMPIONSHIPS/

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