South Africa walked away with the top honours when they won both the men and women’s titles at the Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championships in Windhoek on Monday.
South African champion Donovan van den Heever won the men’s competition with seven points, while their women’s champion Denise Frick won the women’s title with 8,5 points. Both players received N$4 000 for winning their individual titles, while they will now also have a chance of competing at the 2015 Chess World Cup.
Van den Heever remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, winning five and drawing four matches.
Kelvin Chumfwa of Zambia came second on 6 points and received N$2 500, while third-placed Luciano Oliveira of Angola (6 points) received N$1 500.
In the women’s competition, Frick also remained unbeaten throughout the tournament to win the N$4 000 first prize.
She won eight of her matches and only drew one match against Esperanca Caxito of Angola.
Onkemetse Francis of Botswana (six points) and compatriot Kgalelo Botlhole (six points) received N$2 500 and N$1 500 for finishing second and third respectively.
Namibia’s competitors finished well down the log in both the men and women’s competitions.
McLean Handjaba was Namibia’s top male performer, finishing 15th overall on 4,5 points, while compatriots Charles Eichab and Leonhardt Muller followed on 3,5 points each. Muller was well placed at the halfway mark but then picked up a bug and had to forfeit his last two matches.
Namibia’s other male competitors, Rex Oberholzer, finished on 2,5 points, Goodwill Khoa on 1,5 points and Simon Shidolo on 0,5 points.
In the women’s competition, Namibia’s top performer was Jolly Nepando who came tenth overall on 4,5 points. She was followed by compatriots Toshi Haufiku (4), Rauha Shipindo (3,5), Magdalena Valombola (2,5) and Kamutuua Tjatindi (1).
The tournament was attended by 36 players from seven southern African countries while the top international and continental chess officials also attended.
They included the FIDE vice president Lewis Ncube, the African Chess Federation president Lakhdar Mazouz and the Zone 4.3 president Tshepo Sitale.
Ncube praised Namibia for hosting a well organised tournament.
“I was here in 2007 when Namibia hosted the Africa individual championships and since then Namibian chess has made big strides.
“The Zone 4.3 region is the most active in Africa and his tournament showed that we have the potential to compete with the best in the world, not only in terms of organisation, but also in terms of our play,” he said.
Sitale was also full of praise.
“We’ve had a fantastic event that showed we can go a long way to develop chess in the region. We need to unite for the good of our region and we need to get players from other countries to also compete,” he said.
Mazouz said it was a great pleasure to be in Namibia and congratulated the president of the Namibia Chess Federation, Otto Nakapunda and his team for a well-organised tournament.
Source : The Namibian