African Junior Championship 2008 Report Print
Saturday, 24 January 2009 12:13

by Lynne van Rensburg

The African Junior Chess Championships 2008 was held from 28th December 2008 to 6th January 2009 at the Amanzintaba Resort “Water from the Mountain”, near Bronkhorstspruit, a town in the Gauteng Province , South Africa. 13 African countries were represented, which is a significant increase to previous years. One of the goals of CACDEC (Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries) and the African Chess Union is to develop Chess in Africa and increase participation in FIDE rated events.

3 countries (Namibia, Nigeria and Somalia), unfortunately cancelled just before the tournament due to VISA time limits or financial constraints. We encourage them to enter earlier in 2009 in Egypt.

27 boys and 15 girls competed in the event. The "flow" of the tournament was extremely smooth which means it was well organized. The remoteness of the venue was certainly something that enabled the players to concentrate on the chess tournament. The Zero Tolerance Of Late Arrivals was applied as a special tournament rule and resulted in a fair amount of discussion at the pre tournament technical meeting, but the proposal was accepted. The result was that every player was seated at their table and ready to start at about 5 minutes before every round during the tournament. The latest arrival was usually 5 minutes before scheduled starting time. In general the tournament proceeded with good discipline amongst the players and a very good spirit. Once the tournament started it went off in a most pleasing manner. The frustrations of the start receded from the prominence that it had initially, with the registration and arrival of teams (see later). There were very few incidents that required Arbiter intervention and none that erupted into serious controversy. In the Open section, where there were 8 FIDE rated players and 2 titled players, Egypt dominated in the top 5 . The big 5 South Africans dominated in the Girls section where there were 6 FIDE rated players and 3 titled players in total. Gnther van den Bergh (International Arbiter - RSA) was the chief arbiter and Lars Persson (FIDE Arbiter RSA) and Gilton Mkumbwa (FIDE Arbiter MAL) were both awarded their second norms for International Arbiter qualifications.

IM Kariem Wageih from Cairo, retained his title as the African Junior Open Champion while WIM Melissa Greeff from Cape Town won the girls section for the 2nd time after winning in 2006. Both players were younger than the average age of the players and received their 2nd GM norms.

Please download full report in pdf format with photos and crosstables here. 
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