Zimbabwe’s Budding Chess Talents Head to 2025 African Youth Chess Championships

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Zimbabwe sends 41 players to African Youth Chess Championships.
Tournament in Johannesburg from June 15-23.
Top players earn spots in 2025 World Youth Championships.
Zimbabwe Chess Federation organized farewell ceremony for team.

A contingent of 41 young and promising chess players from Zimbabwe has departed for the 2025 edition of the African Youth Chess Championships, set to begin in South Africa tomorrow. The event will be hosted at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni, Johannesburg, from June 15-23. This prestigious tournament gathers teams from across the African continent, competing in six different age categories ranging from Under-8 to Under-18.

A Grand Farewell

The Zimbabwe Chess Federation (ZCF) held a farewell ceremony for the team at their Joina City offices. The atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm and hope as the players prepared to represent their country on an international stage. ZCF technical director Tapiwa Gora expressed his excitement about the size and potential of the team.

“Zimbabwe has got a delegation of 41 players that will be taking part in this event. This is probably the biggest contingent we have sent to this tournament in recent years. This is largely because South Africa is close and we have managed to send all of our best talent to this event,” Gora remarked.

Building the Future of Zimbabwean Chess

The large contingent is a testament to the growing popularity and development of chess in Zimbabwe. Gora highlighted the importance of this experience for the young players, stating, “The future of chess in Zimbabwe is very bright. This is a new crop of players which we expect to take over from our current top players in the near future. This experience will help them to improve their game and push them to study more, play more, and just explore and enjoy the game of chess.”

The players were selected through rigorous national scholarship championships for secondary schools and the National Association of Primary Heads (NAPH) selection for primary schools. This thorough selection process ensures that the best talents are given the opportunity to shine on an international stage.

Zimbabwe’s Track Record

Zimbabwe has a history of success in the African Youth Chess Championships. Notable past winners include Refiloe Hazel Mudodo, Tatenda Matemavi, and Farai Hamandishe. Their achievements have inspired the current generation of players, who are eager to follow in their footsteps and bring glory to their country.

Stakes and Opportunities

The stakes are high for the participants. The winners from each age group category in both the Open and Girls Sections will earn personal rights to compete in the 2025 World Youth Chess Championships and the 2025 World Cadets Chess Championships. This presents a golden opportunity for the young Zimbabwean players to make a mark on the global stage and gain invaluable experience.

Support and Commitment

The support from various stakeholders, including the CBZ Bank which has committed to supporting chess in Zimbabwe, has been instrumental in nurturing these young talents. Their commitment ensures that the players have the resources and opportunities to develop their skills and compete at higher levels.

Players to watch

Refiloe Hazel Mudodo: A past champion, Refiloe Hazel Mudodo is a key player with significant experience in international competitions.

Tatenda Matemavi: Known for his strategic prowess, Tatenda Matemavi has previously secured victories in this championship.

Farai Hamandishe: With a strong track record, Farai Hamandishe is expected to excel and inspire his peers.

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