THE Zimbabwe chess team are on the verge of qualifying for the second round of the ongoing Physically Challenged Chess Olympiad tournament.
The team are the only Southern Africa representatives in the International Chess Federation-accredited virtual tournament, which began on November 20 and will end on December 4. The team have so far played five games and have two remaining matches to complete the first round. The four-member team have been improving, with each passing game. Zimbabwe Chess Federation president, Collen Tongowona, believes they have a chance to make the semis, if they can win the remaining matches.
Team Zimbabwe have played five games, won one, drawn twice and lost twice to take their points tally to five.
Zimbabwe opened their campaign against Kazakhstan and won 4-0 before taking on Chile, who beat them 3-1. A 2-2 draw against Mongolia followed before they registered another win against Mali winning 3-1 and yesterday they drew 2-2 with Romania.
“We are the only Southern Africa representative in this tournament, which has attracted 29 countries from across the globe,” said Tongowona. “Africa has five countries and we saw it fit to give our physically-challenged players a chance to play at the highest level.
“We have a strong team, comprising three boys — Onai Chikafu, Tapiwa Gora, Tafadzwa Mushonga and Natasha Shonhiwa.
“The players are working as a team and we have given our opponents a good challenge. “Our aim is to give exposure to the players and this is only the start and we are hopeful to continue fielding teams in tournaments.”
The association, which have the support of a number of companies, has managed to secure offices at the spacious Joina City.
“I think we are moving in the right direction, and we are grateful that we started from scratch but we have the support of our main sponsor, Sawara Group of companies, who have Cyrex.
“The sponsors have stood with us and we are happy that we now have an office in the capital.” The competition continues this evening.