By GODFREY DUBE –
THE first ever African Draughts 64-Championship got underway yesterday with International Draught Federation (IDF) president Vladimir Langin hoping the tournament will promote the new format.
Langin said during the official opening at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka that Zambia should be proud to host the historic championship that has seen African players play under the 64-championship from the traditional 10 by 10.
Langin said the competition would make a very huge impact to promote Draught 64 among African players.
“This is a good for Zambia and will remain historic because it is the first ever championship to held and played in Africa, the 64- square draught is an important one as it does motivate players a lot than a 10 by 10 one. We hope it will create an impact and draw much attention from youths,” he said.
He emphasised that participants pay much attention and enjoy the games as a grandmaster norm will be awarded at the end of the tournament and hoped it would be a Zambian.
Ministry of Sports acting director of sports Raphael Mulenga said government remained committed towards encouraging the development of all kinds of sports in the country.
Mulenga expressed happiness that Zambia was given the opportunity and honour to play the host to the championship.
Zambia Draughts Federation (ZDF) president Tentani Mwanza said the tournament would help generate interest among Zambian just like is the case in Russia and Brazil were the 64 square is common.
Mwanza said draughts would be next to soccer if well sponsored and organised.
Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe are the other countries taking part in the competition. Zambia is fielding nine players, Malawi seven, Zimbabwe has two, Uganda three while Ethiopia and DRC have one each.