It's all systems as the 10th edition of the Africa Youth Chess Championship kicks-off in Kisumu on Sunday.
The event, which has attracted players from 13 countries and will run until next Saturday, will be held at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel.
East Africa will be represented by Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania. Other participating countries include Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Cameroon, Somalia. North Africa will be represented by Egypt and Algeria.
The competition has been divided into 12 categories which includes under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 for both boys and girls. The game format will be played as a nine round Swiss event with time control of 90 minutes plus 30 seconds.
The event's opening ceremony is set for Sunday at 9am with the first round taking place at 4:30pm.
The U-18 boy’s category has attracted Egyptian International Master Kandil Adham, who is the highest rated player in the event with a FIDE Rating of 2290.
Algeria’s Candidate Master Araoun Saadi, Kenya’s Sumit Satish, Liloko Elvis and Munene Brian, Zambia’s Patrick Linda and Namibia’s Van der Anthony are among the top contenders.
Chess Kenya chairman Bernard Wanjala urged the participants to strive for excellence during the one-week tournament.
“The game of chess has travelled the length and breadth of the globe and found devotees of every race, creed and nationality and therefore you should be very proud of yourself for carrying this wonderful tradition,” said Wanjala.
Kisumu County CEC Sports and Tourism Achie Alai urged the participants to exercise the spirit of sportsmanship.
“As Kisumu County, we are excited to host the continental event, we envisage to nurture sports men and women in the region, we do hope that the participants will enjoy the hospitality and the rich cultural heritage during their stay here,” said Achie.
Kenya will be represented by 58 players, with South Africa fielding in 23, Algeria 17, Namibia 15, while Uganda and Zimbabwe will have 14 each during this year’s Championship.
“The participants have already jetted in for this year’s championship. There will be stiff competition from the Egyptians who have perfected the art of the game, we expect a competitive outing,” said Chess Kenya vice president Duke Michieka.