Zambians tighten Zim Open stranglehold

HARARE - Zambian Godwin Phiri lifted the Zimbabwe Open Chess title after beating fellow countryman Daniel Jere in the final round yesterday.

Phiri takes over as the Open champion from another Zambian, Kennedy Katowa, who won the tournament last year.

Yesterday, Phiri finished with nine-and-a-half points out of eleven games to pocket $2 000.

“I am happy with the results, in Zimbabwe you have talented chess players,” Phiri told the Daily News yesterday.  

 “If Zimbabwean chess players have a chance to participate in international tournaments I think the country will continue to produce good chess players.”

Zimbabwe’s Spencer Masango finished second with nine points and was tied with Zambia’s Gillian Gwabwla and Keila Kaulile.

Zimbabwe International chess master Robert Gwaze was a huge disappointment, finishing with seven-and-a-half points.

Another leading Zimbabwean player, Rodwell Makoto, finished with eight-and-a-half points and failed to cap a fine year in which he dominated regional and international competitions.

Makoto won gold in the Capablanca chess festival in South Africa in May before coming first in the South Africa Open tournament, beating grand masters from China and France.

He then finished first at the Kwazulu Natal Spring championships in August.

Makoto then signed off the year by finishing in position 18 in the 40th Olympiad chess tournament in Turkey.

Zimbabwe Chess Federation vice-president Toby Brooke said: “This is one of the best tournaments we have ever hosted. We hope the event will go a long way in as far as the development of the game is concerned in our country.” - Blessings Mashaya

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