Kayonde: Star on rise
Published On July 23, 2016 » 714 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Columns, Sports
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Scorecard - ShamsIF you have never heard of the name headlined above, I guess it means you need to pay a bit more attention to other sporting disciplines besides football.
Andrew Kayonde is a hugely talented rising chess star who has just shaken up the top order in the African chess ranking system with his exploits at the Africa Individual Chess Championship (AICC) in Uganda.
The name Amon Simutowe probably resonates more with most Zambians regarding chess and this is because he is a massively talented player who took Africa by storm and went on to become the first black African Grandmaster (GM).
Well, this young Andrew looks just as good in value and talented and is in line to become the next great African player and can become grand master if he wins the AICC today.
At this ongoing AICC, Kayonde went in as a lowly ranked FIDE Master (FM) but has raced into leadership defying odds presented by three of Africa’s leading GMs, all of them from Egypt before been overtaken last night.
After an assuring start which had four wins and a loss, Kayonde found himself on Board-One playing Africa’s best who after noticing the threat the Zambian was posing, agreed to a draw inside five minutes of the fifth round but that did not stop Kayonde from dismantled Africa’s top rated player GM Ahmed Adly and then Essam El Gindy in successive rounds.
This is one great feat considering the stress of playing such strong players and just shows how big the potential Kayonde has.
And this is in a sport that has little or no sponsorship either from Government or the corporate world and this latest achievement should be able to remind the powers that be, both in government and the private sector to know where to invest in.
I have followed the sport for about two decades and I know the Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) would not want to ask for air tickets to fly the players across the world, but investment in youth and bring out the talent that hidden.
I remember in the early-to-mid-2000 when the Copperbelt Chess League Association (CCLA) would organise a tournament every school holiday and Kayonde, a small schoolboy from Hillcrest, would never miss under the watchful eye of the mother.
Then CCLA chairperson Nolias Kalinga once said the fact that Zambia always produces a strong player year and jumping right to the top group means there is immense talent that has remained untapped with a large group in homes and township and not growing their ability.
Kayonde was lucky he was well nurtured once his potential was seen from the school days but there are hundreds of thousands that remain untapped, playing in homes, bars, offices and community laces among others who could well bring glory.
Once when chess was part of the All-Africa Games, in 2003, Zambia, with players like Amon Simutowe and Nase Lungu, brought home three medals, including a team silver medal.
How they have not taken part again since 2011 when International Master Daniel Jere won silver remains a wonder. Well done Andrew!
For comments write shamsmuzo@gmail.com

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