Chess Grandmaster Zimbabwe bound

HARARE - Global Chess Foundation Kasparov through its African branch are set to bring world top chess player Grandmaster Nigel Short to Zimbabwe for a three-day working visit end of this month.

The foundation is a non-profit educational organisation supported by charitable donations from individuals and its main goal is the promotion of chess as a tool for education and social development on the continent.

United Kingdom-based Short, well known as a chess match commentator and journalist and author of regular chess opinion pieces which are published in many of the largest chess magazines around the world, intends to visit Zimbabwe between May 29 and June 1.

Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa executive director, Graham Jurgensen wrote to the Zimbabwe Chess Federation advising them that they will be sponsoring Short’s visit.

“I am pleased to confirm that chess Grandmaster…Short from the United Kingdom wishes to undertake a seven-country tour of the African continent including visits to Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Sao Tome and Principe, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia,” Jurgebsen wrote to Zimbabwe Chess Federation vice president Clive Mphambela.

“He is one of the most well-known chess grandmasters in the world and is a former world champion challenger who has been ranked as high as third in the world.

“He is currently the only active chess player over the age of 50 to be ranked inside the world’s top 100.

“He is a global ambassador for the game of chess and has visited more than 100 countries both playing and promoting the game… he will be available for training sessions, exhibitions and general promotional appearances while he is in the country.

“We would appreciate the assistance of the Zimbabwe Chess Federation to design a suitable itinerary for him while he is in the country.

“The tour is fully funded by the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa and we will cover his travel expenses, meals, and accommodation needs while he is in each country. We would also ask for your kind assistance to help secure him a travel visa as required to facilitate his visit to the country.”

The visit by the grandmaster comes as endorsement for the local federation as it helps them in preparing for the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia later this year.

Short’s visit also comes hard on the heels of the successful participation of Zimbabwean chess player Lawrence Tavagwisa, who won bronze medal at the World Amateur Chess Championships in Italy last week.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Chess Federation has written to the Sports and Recreational Commission seeking clearance for Short’s visit.

“Please kindly accept our application for clearance of a sports tour by Grandmaster (Nigel) Short who will be in Zimbabwe…his visit to Zimbabwe will be a high profile event that should augur well for chess development in the country.

“The grandmaster will assist in conducting training and preparations for the Zimbabwe Chess Team that will participate in the 43rd Chess Olympiad to be held in Batumi Georgia, later this year,” wrote Mphambela to the SRC.

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