By RONALD CHAWE –
THE Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) has set February 2 as the new date for the eagerly anticipated battle of brains in the second phase of the national chess team selection trials to be held in Mansa.
The trials will be held during the Luapula Chess League Association (LCLA) and Partners Open and will run from February 2-4 at Henry Courtyard Executive Lodge in Mansa.
The tournament was initially set for January 12-14 but got deferred following the cholera outbreak and the ban on sports activities.
CFZ General Secretary Chanda Nsakanya confirmed the new dates in a statement issued yesterday.
Nsakanya, who is also expected to arbitrate the event, said the tournament would have three sections namely the men and women national team trials and then the Elite section.
He said national champions International Master (IM) Andrew Kayonde and Women Fide Master (WFM) Lorita Mwango are exempted in Phase Two of the trials.
“Players who are eligible to participate in the second phase of the trials are those who will qualify from their respective zones or come as nominated players,” he said.
The chess community was thrown into a frenzy after Kayonde entered the Open section of the second phase despite being exempt and to only join in the third and final stage.
Some called for Kayonde to forego his last phase spot if he takes part in the second phase and that should he fail to make the top five, he would lose his last round spot.
Nsakanya’s statement may have clarified the fears over Kayonde’s entering the for the second phase whose first round will be a knock-out with those knocked off joining the main section from round one,” he said.
Nsakanya explained that the competition will be an eight round Swiss-system and fide rated tournament in both men and women sections with accelerated pairing from first to third round.
The federation is expected to select a team comprised of five men and five women that will go to the last round where the current national team players will be waiting.
From the third round, the top five players from the men as well as the women will make up the 2018 national teams to represent Zambia at major international events including the Olympiads.
Apart from fighting for places in the final stage, the winner in the men’s category will bag K10, 000, with runner- up getting K6, 000 while third and fourth place finishers will walk away with K4, 000 and K2, 000 respectively.
The champion in the main segment gets K5, 000 with second best pocketing K4, 000 while those finishing third and fourth would go home with K3, 000 and K1, 500 each.
In the women section, which will be on round robin basis, the victor would receive K3, 000 with second and third entitled to K2000 and K1000 each respectively.
The best veteran (40 years and above) will get K1, 000 with best youngest players (under-15) boys and girls each to receive K500.