Chess News

FIDE Visits Southern Africa

FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director, Nigel Freeman, together with African Chess Union President Lakhdar Mazouz, FIDE Zone 4.3 President Tshepo Sitale, and FIDE Development Secretary Rupert Jones, visited southern Africa in July.

Their first stop was to attend the closing rounds of the Commonwealth Championship in Port Elizabeth. This was the most successful of all Commonwealth Championships, with over 900 participants from 29 countries, extremely well organised by Brian Van Zyl under the auspices of CHESSA.

Rupert Jones, Emilia Ellappen, Nigel Freeman

FIDE Development Commission Secretary, Rupert Jones, CHESSA President, Emilia Ellappen and FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director, Nigel Freeman

The highlight was a visit from the South African President, Jacob Zuma, and he spent most of the last day there. He played a serious (25 minutes or so) game with the youngest participant, Keagan Rowe, aged 5, which was the front page picture in most of the South African newspapers the next day.

In his address at the closing ceremony, President Jacob Zuma strongly supported the inclusion of chess in schools:

We also share a common sentiment with the Department of Basic Education to encourage chess as a serious sport in the schools.

It prompts latent skills on the children, patience, quick wit, decisiveness and confidence arising from competition with counterparts, including those from outside the country.

It therefore promotes cross-cultural communication, which is vital in enhancing social coherence even among the children at this crucial young age.

Chess exercises the children’s minds, it is a healthy diversion from the often toxic television programmes which feature crime, violence and nudity, and reinforces cultures alien to the needs of the children.

We also intend chess to be used as an educational tool, to enhance logic and lateral thinking for mathematics and sciences, which many people find difficult.

While with young children, we are largely concerned about good development of sensory-motor skills, we are also saying that wee must stimulate the intellectual faculties as well, while they are still young, so that they do well in the future.

We will therefore greatly appreciate if the efforts to develop chess in this country and in the continent advance at a higher speed, so that our children start to rank among the best in the world.

Jacob Zuma, Emelia Ellappen, Khoi Tribe

South African President, Jacob Zuma and CHESSA President, Emelia Ellappen present a certificate to the leader of the Khoi Tribe

Whilst in Port Elizabeth, Nigel Freeman met with the Board of CHESSA. He, Lakhdar Mazouz, Tshepo Sitale and Rupert Jones met with the various African Federations that attended the event, particularly the Lesotho Chess Federation President, who traveled to Port Elizabeth to meet them, and the Tanzanian Chess Federation President and Secretary, who have applied for membership of FIDE.

Nurdin Hassuji, Nigel Freeman, Lakhdar Mazouz, Geoffrey Mwanyika

Nurdin Hassuji, General Secretary Tanzania Chess Association, Nigel Freeman, FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director, Lakhdar Mazouz, African Chess Union President and Geoffrey Mwanyika, Chairman Tanzania Chess Association


Following their trip to South Africa, Messrs Freeman, Mazouz, Sitale and Jones made the first ever FIDE visit to Swaziland bearing the 100 sets and boards and 30 clocks that FIDE donates to new member Federations.

They held meetings with Arnold Dlamini, the Mayor of Mbabane and with the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Education, as well as Prince Masitsela, eldest son of late King Sobheza and Administrator of Manzini region.

Rupert Jones, Abednego Dlamini, Lakhdar Mazouz, Arnold Bhekumusa Dlamini, Nigel Freeman, Tshepo Sitale

FIDE Development Commission Secretary, Rupert Jones, President of Swaziland Chess Federation, Abednego Dlamini, FIDE Africa President, Lakhdar Mazouz, Mayor of Mbabane, Arnold Bhekumusa Dlamini, FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director, Nigel Freeman, FIDE Zone 4.3 President, Tshepo Sitale, and the Assistant to the Mayor of Mbabane

The trip was rounded off by a visit to St Michael’s School, Manzini, where FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director Nigel Freeman planted a tree and the FIDE delegation were entertained by a poem from some of the students and another poem recited by the pre-school. This was followed by a live chess game.

Video –

Swaziland chess

At the St Michael’s School in Manzini


After Swaziland, the FIDE delegation traveled to Namibia where they met with Director of Sport for the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Dr Vetumbuavi Veli, who is also the Chairperson for SCSA (Supreme Council for Sport in Africa) Zone VI.

Dr. Veli said that he would support the inclusion of chess in the forthcoming African Junior games and pledged his support for chess in Namibia.

Nigel Freeman, Dr Vetumbuavi Veli, Lakhdar Mazouz, Fremantle Kuhanga, Kamutuua Tjajindi, Tshepo Sitale, Otto Z. Nakapunda, Rupert Jones

Nigel Freeman, FIDE Tresuarer and Executive Director, Dr Vetumbuavi Veli, Director of Sport for the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture and Chairperson for SCSA (Supreme Council for Sport in Africa) Zone VI, Lakhdar Mazouz, African Chess Union President, Fremantle Kuhanga, Namibian Arbiter, Kamutuua Tjajindi, Treasurer of Namibian Chess Federation, Tshepo Sitale, FIDE Zone 4.3 President, Otto Z. Nakapunda, President of Namibian Chess Federation and Rupert Jones, FIDE Development Secretary

The delegation also met with the Schools Sports Union, who confirmed their assistance for chess and in particular with the transport of players and coaches to tournaments within the region. They then attended the prize giving for the first team tournament in Windhoek, which had been very successful.

Meeting with Namibia Schools Sports Union

Meeting with Namibia Schools Sports Union

When they returned to Johannesburg the FIDE delegation met with the Angolan and Mozambiquan Chess Federations and discussed the situation within both countries and their future participation in FIDE regional events.

Tito Martins, Jose Junquera, Selma Simango

Meeting with Angolan and Mozambiquan Chess officials: Tito Martins (Press Officer Angolan Chess Federation), Jose Junquera (Vice President Angolan Chess Federation), Selma Simango, President Mozambiquan Chess Federation

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