09:04, Tuesday, 21st March, 2017

CMAT ZAMBIA REPORT – GM PONTUS CARLSSON VISIT

The report below was received from IM Andrew Kayonde on behalf of Project Chess Zambia - our local CMAT implementation partners in Zambia. We wish to thank Andrew for his dedication to help us make the tour a reality and also congratulate him on his recent wedding which he was somehow able to plan for at the same time!

Day 1 – Simultaneous Exhibition, East Park Mall

Only a few hours after arriving in Lusaka, GM Pontus Carlsson was already busy with a simultaneous exhibition against 24 players at East Park Mall. He faced a strong field with 5 players rated above 2100 including Geoffrey Luanja who has a FIDE rating of 2197 and the reigning National Women’s Champion, WCM Constance Mbatha.

The ceremonial first move was made by Ericho Nshikokola, President of the Chess Federation of Zambia with the event lasting more than 4 hours. It ended shortly after 21.30 with GM Carlsson scoring an impressive total of 22/24.

Congratulations are due to Kennedy Katowa, Clifford Kaimana and Alistair Chisompola who managed to secure draws! The senasation of the day however was the draw result recorded by 8-year old Kennedy Shane who recently won the U9 category of the African Youth Chess Championships. He clearly has a bright future ahead of him.

Day 2/3 – Training of Trainers, Olympic Youth Development Centre:

Day 2 and 3 focused on the training of a group of 10 trainees who had been specially selected for the program. The group consisted of Geoffrey Luanja, Constance Mbatha, Mulenga Cliff Mulenga, Anna Mbewe, Clement Mayimbo, Bright Muyenga, Justin Daka, Kennedy Katowa, Stanley Ngulube and Alistair Chisompola.

The first sessions on Saturday focused on how to train children and equip them with an arsenal of knowledge and insights.

Subsequent sessions were broken into parts which included:
- Fundamentals of chess openings and how to build a plan.
- Training games, played from a classical position of the french defense on either side of the board.
- Analysis of classical positions from the Sicilian Dragon and French Defense. Answers on the best continuations in set positions were to be submitted the following day as a homework assignment.

On Sunday, GM Carlsson started off by discussing the trainees answers to the assignment from the previous day. The lesson was then advanced to focus on the fundamentals of the middle-game and endgame. Areas covered included:
- The interlink of the opening to the middlegame
- Middlegame themes and tactics
- The interlink of the middle-game to the endgame
- Playing the endgame – covering different types of endgames and how to handle each situation.

Having covered the three phases, Pontus went on to give insights into the basics of a good chess coach. The trainers were also taught about the psychology of coaching. The trainers were then divided into two groups and assigned to either Rhodes Park School or Thorn Park Primary School – the two schools that the GM would visit during his final 2 days of the tour.

Days 4 & 5 – School Visits:

GM Carlsson visited two very different schools during the final phase of the tour. Thorn Park Primary is a government school while Rhodes Park is private. The mix of schools provided an opportunity for the GM to experience the different school settings within Zambia. Each school visit lasted approximately two hours and both schools were visited twice on consecutive days. In total, 77 children from the two schools had an encounter with the GM.

On the first day, GM Carlsson taught the children personally as the trainers observed and assisted. Carlsson added fun to the learning experience for the children by incorporating games as a teaching aid. Among many exciting ways to teach, he made the children participate through groups. Everybody had lots of fun.

Officials from the National Sports Council of Zambia and the Chess Federation of Zambia joined the GM on the first day at Rhodes Park School. They were encouraged by what they observed and expressed support for the program.

On the second day of the school visits, the trainers did most of the teaching as with GM Pontus observing and assisting were necessary. The trainers had drawn up lesson plans which they used as a guide to deliver the lessons.

A total of 15 chess sets, 2 chess clocks and 1 demo board was donated to each of the two schools. Trainers have since been assigned to the two schools to continue the training on a weekly basis.

Day 6 – Strength training and one on one sessions

Having acquired a relatively deep understanding of each of the trainers on the program, GM Carlsson held one-on-one sessions with each of the trainees on the final day of his tour. During these sessions, he highlighted to each of them what he had observed to be their weaknesses and strengths.

Each trainee received feedback and guidance on what they ought to do to improve their playing strength and improve their coaching skills. They were given further assignments which will be followed up when the second training sessions take place in April.

Having successfully delivered the objectives of his tour, GM Calsson finally departed from Africa on the 2nd March 2017. The trainees were sad to see him go but also thankful for the knowledge he imparted while he was here. We look forward to the next visit later this year.

We also wish to thank ZNBC who covered the visits to both Rhodes Park and Thorn Park Primary Schools. There reports are posted on the KCF YouTube Channel at the following links:

ZNBC TV2 Sport On - Rhodes Park School Report - https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=n_3BVNXqzRU

ZNBC Main News - Thorn Park School with GM Pontus Carlsson:
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=rYETMCcoesM