THE boards are now set for this year’s Zimbabwe International Chess Open, with daggers already drawn by the region’s top chess players, who will face off in Harare later this month.
The top event, which is organised by the Zimbabwe Chess Federation (ZCF), has been set to run from December 31 through to January 4 at a hotel in the capital.
Following a successful partnership with the Kasparov Chess Foundation and Holiday Inn Harare, this year’s event will feature top players from the host country, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia , Mozambique and Malawi.
The players will battle it out for top honours and a $5 000 cash prize fund with the winner taking home $2 000.
The annual prestigious tournament will also host an open category event in which all other players will play for a $2 000 prize fund.
The Fide rated Prestige A section event will run over nine rounds played over the five days, whilst the Open event has been set to run from January 1-4.
The open section will also be a nine round battle, with each player being allocated one and a half hours to play out their moves.
In a statement, the ZCF said preparations were now at an advanced stage and they were expecting over 200 players to grace the country’s flagship chess tournament.
“We are hosting the Zimbabwe International Open Chess Championship from December 31 2014 to January 4 2015 in Harare. This year’s event is special in that it features two competitive sections, a Fide Rated Prestige A section and an Open event,” ZCF president Charles Kuwaza said.
“As usual, we expect about 10 players from Zambia, three from Botswana and another five from South Africa. Mozambique has consistently been sending players to our events and this year, Malawi and Nigerian players are also expected,” he added.
South Africa-based International Master Rodwell Makoto will lead the local charge, which will be supported by national Chess Champion, Emarald Mushore, Candidate Master Dion James Moyo and national team players Spencer Masango, Lloyd Moyo, Castro Sibanda and Thabo Elisha.
Zambian Kelvin Chumfwa is the defending champion for this tournament, having won it last year.