THE SA Open at UWC was predictably won by Aleksa Strikovic, the Serbian grandmaster.
Also as expected, the top South Africans confirmed their ratings.
1. Aleksa Strikovic – Serbia (2505) 9.5/11; 2. Watu Kobese – RSA (2344) and Daniel Cawdery – RSA (2412) 8.5.
Then came two foreign players: Daniel Jere – Zambia (2368) and Joseph Mwale – Malawi (2076) 8. Strikovic also won the blitz. We are lucky to have such a strong player, one who is also keen to coach. The stage is set for the biggest continental chess event yet held on Ugandan soil. Tick Hotel is ready to host the Africa Individual Chess Championship that started this week and ends on July 27.
More than 60 leading players from 13 countries – Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Ghana, Somalia, Angola, South Sudan, Zambia, Nigeria, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda confirmed participation.
The highest- ranked players registered are GM Adly Ahmed (2607), GM Shoker Samy (2489) and GM Essam El Gindy (2431) from Egypt, and GM Haddouche Mohamed (2494) from Algeria.
The ladies category features WGM Mona Kaled and WGM Wafa Shrook from Egypt who are likely to face competition from South Africa’s WIMs Denise Frick and Anzel Laubscher.
The total in cash prizes for the winners is $ 20 000, the biggest to be awarded in Uganda’s chess history.
Besides the cash, a lot is at stake as the winners automatically attain the Grandmaster title. But what of our female players? Since our sole WGM Melissa Greeff departed for Canada, no women have come near to winning the WGM title.
WIMs Denise Frick and Anzel Laubscher have a perfect shot in Uganda.
Judit Polgar, one of the world’s top chess players, has hit back against a claim by another of the game’s stars that men are naturally better chess players.
“We are capable of the same fight as any man, and I think during the decades that I actively played chess I proved it as well,” Polgar said. The Hungarian became a chess prodigy with her two sisters and broke Bobby Fischer’s record to become the youngest grandmaster at the age of 15 in 1991.