Boost for inmates chess tourney
Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE inmates’ chess teams yesterday received a morale boost ahead of the FIDE Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners which begins to-day after Mirneva donated 92 chess boards for all the 42 prisons across the country.
A total of 10 players, both men and women, will be taking part in the tournament which was officially launched at Chikurubi Maximum Prison yesterday.
Zimbabwe will be taking part in its third tournament and will this year involve women chess players.
The championship, organised by FIDE in partnership with the Chicago Cook County Sheriff Office in the US will see local inmates converge at Chikurubi where they will square off with some of the world’s elite chess players serving time.
As the sole African representative in the inaugural edition, Zimbabwe stunned the world by reaching the final, narrowly losing to Mongolia by a slim one-point mar-gin.
This year Zimbabwe has added another feather as they will also have a women’s team.
Leo Matibe one of the male inmates, who is serving a life sentence and is taking part in his third tournament, is confident that they will do well at this year’s tournament as they have a team which has experienced players.
“I am happy to be taking part in my third international tournament and as some-one serving a life sentence it is the only way I relief myself from stress. I have been playing chess for a long time and the opportunity to play against other inmates serving time globally is good for us.
After we finished second in 2021 we are looking forward to do better and win the tournament,” said Matibe.
Laura Chawe, who travelled all the way from Bulawayo for the tournament, said she is looking forward to her first ever international tournament.
“I am happy with the opportunity to be representing my country. I am looking forward to the tournament and I hope we will enjoy the next three days of chess,’ said Chawe.
Bulawayo who provided the bulk of the women players also had Samkele Chuma who said she is looking forward to the tournament.