The President of the World Chess Federation has backed the country to host the prestigious FIDE World Chess Cup and the Chess Olympiad, an upgraded version, in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
By Carlo Chikomba and Tongai Mwenje
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is the president of the World Chess Federation, has given his blessing for Zimbabwe to host the two international tournaments after touring the proposed venue, Victoria falls.
The Chess president said the country is more than capable of hosting one of the biggest events in the calendar of world chess whose next showcase is in 2021.
The Russian international who was in the country for the Africa Schools Chess Tournament said was happy with the proposed Victoria falls venue.
” I went to Victoria falls with the Minister (Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane) and I was happy with the facilities, yes the venue can host the two tournaments,” said Kirsan.
The FIDE boss, however said consultations have to be made to finalise on the issue of hosting the tournament.
The African continent lost by a whisker to host the prestigious tournament for the first time when South Africa, who had proposed Sun City and Durban as venues, lost to Georgia after receiving 58 votes to the eventual winner’s 93.
Holding such a tournament for the first time in the African continent will be a demonstration that Zimbabwe holds an important place on the international sports map.
In support of Kirsan’s sentiments, the minister of Sports and Recreation, Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane said that its certainly a recognition of our country, which the Zimbabwean government carries out in the direction of sports.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov also pledged to assist Zimbabwe in the development of Chess sport from the grass roots level. The partnership will also see grand masters coming to Zimbabwe to conduct training workshops, scholarships for Chess students among others.
“Due to the rich history our countries share as the president of the World Chess Federation I feel that it is our duty to help your country and people and yesterday we agreed with the Minister of Sports to open chess programmes in all your schools and also we decided to open chess schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, this year’s 128 single player-elimination Chess World Cup 2017 tournament will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 2 to 27 September 2017.
The top two finishers in the tournament (aside from Carlsen, the World Champion; and Karjakin, who qualifies for the Candidates Tournament as a result of the 2016 World Championship), will qualify for the Candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2018.