14:48, Thursday, 2nd March, 2017

We wish to thank CM Charles Eichab for submitting this comprehensive report from Namibia where GM Pontus Carlsson completed the second leg of his tour last week!

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Namibia has historically faced a perennial problem when attempting to grow our membership and make chess more accessible to the ordinary man on the street. The country is sparsely populated and we encounter problems in many areas of social development from which the game of chess has not been spared.

The chess project that has been sponsored by the Paul Allen Foundation and Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa have assisted to fill the void and has every potential to create a great multiplier effect. Namibia is a not accustomed to high level chess visits especially by Grandmasters. As a country, we thirst for such high level chess training and GM Carlsson’s visit could thus not have been more apt.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

16 February 2017
GM Pontus arrived in Namibia on the afternoon of Thursday 16 February 2017 and was received at the Hosea Kutako Airport some 40kms to the east of Windhoek. He was taken to his hotel with the evening spent acclimatizing.

17 February 2017
The formal program started early in the morning with a visit to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which is the leading broadcaster in Namibia. The Grandmaster was hosted on the breakfast show where he explained the aims and objectives of his visits and of the program in general.

In the afternoon, he competed in a Simultaneous Exhibition against National Team players, National Junior Players, ordinary members of society, school children, club players and passer’s by. The GM won all his games except for draws against Goodwill Khoa and Namibian National Champion CM Charles Eichab. The exhibition proved to be a great event which managed to market chess both to the public and to local corporates.

18 February 2017
The 12 selected trainees convened for their first training session. The GM explained that he has divided the training into 3 components: Opening, Middle Game and Endgames and demonstrated how to approach each of the 3 phases as well as the methodologies of teaching them.

After 3-hours we had lunch followed by a brief class session and them theme blitz on a selected opening as shown in classes. The GM carefully analyzed the games and addressed our shortcomings and deficiencies. It was highly instructive stuff.

19-20 February 2017
Training continued with opening themes and tactics after time spent reviewing the homework from the previous day. After a break, we started middle game theory and play-outs with some themed middle game positions. The trainees were asked to download Chessbase 14 and were required to explore and navigate the program and prepare for a virtual opponent.

21-22 February 2017
The GM demonstrated how to use Chessbase powerfully and showed various techniques to navigate and prepare against opponents. He also showed end-game theory. Trainees were given a practical task to prepare for Robert Gwaze. The GM was interested in the quality of the preparation. On the 22nd, we went deeper into the process of gaining insights on the opposition using Chessbase data. The training was concluded with endgame theory.

23 February 2017
On the final day we staged on school visit for the GM which was a huge success. We had a session with 60 learners from the school and spent time with the Principal and the organizing teacher Mr. Mushinga. The GM give a motivational briefing to all the learners and conducted a beginner class for all. Afterwards, he took on the top 20 students in a simultaneous exhibition. The school trip was a huge success and will soon be in the papers. The afternoon was spent at the Mall in Namibia where a lunch was held with members of the Namibia Chess Federation.

24 February 2017
The GM departed for Zambia at 06h50 where he would complete the 3rd and final leg of his tour.

CONCLUSION

The visit of GM Pontus has generated great momentum and left the trainees wanting more. They are eager to continue the course with the next Master. GM Pontus proved to be a top-class teacher with great insight into the intricacies of the game and his ability to execute the course material was excellent.

17:59, Saturday, 25th February, 2017

GM Kenny Solomon arrived in Rwanda after an intense and fruitful week of training in Kenya

His first day was spent distributing chess material at various schools while in the evening he was interviewed by a local sports channel. This was followed by a simultaneous exhibition against 9 of the trainees during which he was held to a draw by Eugene Mugema.

Saturday morning was spent focusing on rook and pawn endgames while the afternoon sessions handled instructive games.This gave the trainees an appreciation of the strategy and importance of major piece co-ordination. During his talks, Kenny constantly emphasized the importance of knowing the classics.

Sunday morning had an energetic start and focused on tactical combinations. The afternoon session covered themes including the power of the 2 bishops and how to handle more closed positions with space advantages.This was followed by demonstrations on how to use the new Chessbase 14 software and how to download chess games from various chess websites.

The next 3 days were spent focusing on individual sessions. In the mornings, Kenny would work through player games and point out common mistakes. He also gave recommendations for improvements during analysis. The afternoons involved schools visits where the trainees would each be required to host lesson and teach chess pupils between the ages of 6 and 9.

The trainees performed very well and there was great interaction between the trainers and students. Each school also received a brief introduction to the Paul Allan project. The school visits also included meetings with the principals where some schools expressed their willingness to host chess events at their facilities in the future

Kenny is now in Tanzania for the final leg of his first trip and we wish to thank him for his tireless efforts!

14:35, Friday, 24th February, 2017

The Association of Chess Players of Somalia and the Somali Chess Federation has started a second program called the Lancing Chess in Schools Program which will benefit the Hamar Boarding & Kindergarten School in Somalia.

We are pleased to see the equipment donated to the Federation being put to great use and generating significant interest in the game of chess in the country.

10:32, Friday, 24th February, 2017

KCF Africa is pleased to announce that our latest program in Kenya is now fully operational and will see 100 learners from three schools benefiting from the MiniChess program in 2017.

The program is being co-funded with Chess in Schools & Communities from the United Kingdom and is implemented by MiniChess Kenya in collaboration with the Nairobi Chapter of Sports Outreach Ministries.

The participating schools are Imara Daima Primary School, High View Classic Academy and the Red Roof Primary School which are all located in Makuru in Nairobi. The local trainers are Eric Oyugi and Moses Maina who both recently completed their MiniChess training in Nairobi.

We are excited by the expansion in Kenya as we currently have a number of exciting prospects to further expand the program in the country. We look forward to seeing further growth in the program over the course of the year.

14:59, Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017

Details of the 2017 Zambian Open have just been released by the Zambian Chess Federation. KCF Africa is pleased to be able to support this flagship event for the first time in 2017 and we look forward to assisting with the revival of the tournament which was last held in 2014.

The 2017 Zambian Open will offer a total prize pool of $5400 and consists of a FIDE rated masters event (for players rated 2000+) and an open tournament. There will also be two junior sections for U/16's and U/10's as well as a FIDE Rated Blitz tournament on the final day.

The full event brochure is available for download via the KCF tournament page at http://www.kcfafrica.com/sites/default/files/2017ZA~1.PDF.

The 2017 KCF Africa tournament calendar has also been updated and players wishing to access the latest list of forthcoming events may do so at http://www.kcfafrica.com/en/content/forthcoming-events-0

Entries for the Zambian Open are now open and players wishing to register may do so online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeSc1H_igufTCLdyYvoGROKetRGssd4...

Brochures for our forthcoming April tournaments including the Capablanca Open, PSS Open, Steinitz Open and Zimbabwe Easter Open will be released shortly.

14:43, Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017

Details of the 2017 Zambian Open have just been released by the Zambian Chess Federation. KCF Africa is pleased to be able to support this flagship event for the first time in 2017 and we look forward to reviving the event which was last held in 2014.

The 2017 Zambian Open will offer a total prize pool of $5400 and consists of a FIDE rated masters event (for players rated 2000+) and an open tournament. Their will also be two junior sections for U/16's and U/10's as well as a FIDE Rated Blitz tournament on the final day.

The full event brochure is available for download via the KCF tournament page at http://www.kcfafrica.com/sites/default/files/2017ZA~1.PDF.

The 2017 KCF Africa tournament calendar has also been updated and players wishing to access the latest list of forthcoming events may do so at http://www.kcfafrica.com/en/content/forthcoming-events-0

Entries for the Zambian Open are now open and players wishing to register may do so online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeSc1H_igufTCLdyYvoGROKetRGssd4...

Brochures for our forthcoming April tournaments including the Capablanca Open, PSS Open, Steinitz Open and Zimbabwe Easter Open will be released shortly.

16:32, Tuesday, 21st February, 2017

GM Pontus Carlsson spent his first week of the Chess Masters for Africa tour in the city of Gaborone in Botswana. He spent his time conducting training for the selected trainers and also participated in a number of school visits and exhibition events.

Pontus is clearly a perfectionist by nature and his successes as a chess player have clearly been the product of many hundreds of hours of hard work. He has a structured and thorough approach which no doubt also serves him well in his day job as a banker in the Czech Republic.

He has hopefully imparted may of his secrets to success in the time he spent in country and has left substantial homework for the participants which will no doubt help them further develop their skills in his absence.

His next stop is Namibia where he has already made a significant appearance on their national morning show. Updates from the ongoing visits in Rwanda and Namibia will follow in due course.

15:26, Sunday, 19th February, 2017

The Chess Masters for Africa Tour is well and truly up and running now and has entered its second week after launching successfully in Kenya and Botswana. GM Pontus Carlson is currently in Namibia while GM Kenny Solomon is in Rwanda.

We will be posting pictures and reports from the various locations over the course of the next 3 weeks and we have decided to start with Kenya where a total of 13 trainers were trained in the first sessions hosted by GM Kenny Solomon in Nairobi.

We wish to congratulate Mutua Sembei, Cheryl, Ngima, Chahindi Muluda, Tom Amwai, John Mwangi, Fred Sagwe, Easter Awinja, David Kinoti, Hannah Wangari, Gweyani Jumba, James Nyaga, Peter Sahado and Joseph Kirega who all successfully participated in the sessions and we wish them luck as the start training at the selected schools in Kenya.

We also wish to thank GM Kenny Solomon for this tireless efforts on in Kenya where he definitely put in a number of extra hours assisting the trainees.

The tour would not have been possible without the generous grants received from the Paul Allen Family Foundation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation in New York as well as the support of Chessbase and London Chess & Bridge. KCF Africa would like to acknowledge and thank all these parties who have pooled resources to make these ground-breaking tours a reality!

08:35, Wednesday, 15th February, 2017

KCF would like to congratulate Tsanta RAMBELOZAFY, Georges RASOLOFONIAINA and Tiana RAKOTONIAINA from Madagascar who have joined the ranks of accredited MiniChess trainers in Madagascar.

The MiniChess team is doing incredible work in Madagascar and will be expanding their local program to reach 18 schools and more than 1500 children in the 2017 academic year.

This training session represents another a significant milestone in that it is the first time that a KCF MiniChess Master trainer has run a local MiniChess training session. We wish to congratulate Mr Yves RAKOTOMAHARO and Mr Andrianantenaina RAMALANJAONA for successfully running the course and we look forward to seeing the new trainers in action!

15:48, Monday, 6th February, 2017

FM Shabir Bhawoodien showed why he has been ranked among the best players in South Africa for decades by winning both the Prestige and Blitz events at the 2017 BMI Lesotho Open over the weekend.

Shabir ended on 6.5/7 and 5.5/6 respectively and won both events by a full point! Second place in the Prestige event went to Kananelo Latela from Lesotho who scored 5.5 while South Africa's Dumisa Nkosi ended 3rd with 5/7. Dumisa also had a good weekend and went on to place second in the blitz tournament ahead of Theko Khanyapa from Lesotho.

The Open section was won by Mona Mphetole from Lesotho with an impressive score of 5,5 ahead of Tsiu Matsepe and Tjamela Ts'epo
who both ended with 5 points.

We wish to thank the BMI Hotel for their ongoing support of the event and for allowing us to use their excellent facilities once again!

The final results are available at the following links:

Prestige: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr259312.aspx?lan=1
Open: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr261777.aspx?lan=1
Blitz: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr262016.aspx?lan=1

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