Africa Chess Championship: Haruna, Wanyama win big

By Samuel Sanya

One of the Tanzanian players, Nurdin Hassuji also attained a Candidate Master title with a perfect result

A well-organized Zone 4.2 Africa Chess Championship that has been hosted by Tanzania Chess Association for the first time in history ended on a high with Uganda's Haruna Nsubuga winning his last game against Ethiopia's Tadese Estube Haileselasie to get to 6 points out of 9 and upgrade from CM to FIDE Master.

His fellow Ugandan FM Harold Wanyama claimed an even bigger scalp in the last round by beating Egypt's IM Ali Farahat to also get to 6 out of 9 and haul himself to third position, which earned him his first IM norm. He will now need two more norms to attain the full title.

One of the Tanzanian players, Nurdin Hassuji also attained a Candidate Master title with a perfect result in the last and final round played on Saturday 30 April 2016 at Peackok Hotel in Dar Es Salaam.

Hassuji beat Kenya's Ngooro Maigua in a tense and decisive game that ensured that he gets a final score of 4.5 points out of 9 to earn the much coveted title of Candidate Master that was previously held by only one other Tanzanian player, Yusuf Mdoe, who attained it from a similar event held in Kampala, Uganda last year. The final was even made more complex given that Hassuji's Kenyan opponent only needed a draw to get the title himself.

The Zone 4.2 Africa Chess Championship, which run from 22 April to 30 April 2016 attracted players from 12 countries, a record entry, and was won by Egypt's Kandhil Adham after he drew with Burundi's Ezra Paul Chambers in the final round to finish with 7 points and tie with fellow countryman Sobh Emrou whom he only beat for first position owing to a better tie break. The two players attained the title of International Master.

In  joint third position was Uganda's Harold Wanyama, Nsubuga and Burundi's surprise youngster Ezra Chambers with 6 points. A total of 13 players in the Open category attained titles while two attained titles in the ladies category.

The other Tanzanian player who played very well was Yusf Mdoe, who also finished with 4.5 points but did not get a title because he is already a Candidate Master. He was only 1.5 points shy of improving on his current title to FIDE Master. He needed 6 out of 9 points to attain a FIDE Master title.

In the Ladies category, WFM Goretti Angolikin and WFM Christine Namaganda both finished with 5.5 points in fourth and fifth positions respectively. Martha Fredy was hosts, Tanzania's best performer and she finished with 1 point in a tough field comprising of several titled and more experienced players. This category was won by Egypt's Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shrook with maximum points.

The event's closing ceremony held on the evening of Saturday 30 April 2016 was graced by the presence of Africa Chess Confederation President, Lewis Ncube from Zambia and the President of Zone 4.2, Vianney Luggya from Uganda. Both leaders hailed the quality of Tanzania's organisational skills exhibited in their handling of such a big international event that they were hosting for the first time in history.

Luggya, noted that unlike previous zonal events, the Tanzanian event is destined for a total of about ten or more titles given the performance, a clear sign of steady progress.

During the 2015 zonal in Kampala, seven titles were attained in the Open and six titles attained in the Ladies categories by players from five different countries.