Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE stage is set for the sixth edition of the Bulawayo Chess Association’s (BCA) Heroes Open Tournament set for tomorrow at Mpopoma High School.
By lunchtime yesterday, 100 participants had registered for the competition with the organisers saying they are expecting late entrants today.
BCA are expecting 200 participants who will battle it out in the development category which caters for primary and secondary schools players, open and ladies sections.
“Registration is going on well and we will be taking late entries on Monday. The registration fees are $2.30 for primary players, $3.30 for secondary participants and $5.30 for Open and ladies sections.
“All players interested can send EcoCash payments to the BCA director of registrations on +263778588468.
“Our hope is to have more youngsters participating as we want to develop chess in our region. As BCA, at the beginning of the year, we set a roadmap to develop chess at grassroots and I must say it looks like we’re on the right path.
“We keep recording more numbers in the development categories, a sign that interest to play chess among youngsters is growing,” said Elvis Shora, the BCA chairman.
The city’s top-ranked players will miss the tournament as they are participating in the National Championships and National Candidates Selection competitions which started on Friday and end tomorrow in Harare.
Bulawayo’s top players who include Tapiwa Jele of Nkulumane Chess Club, the Nust Chess Club duo of Kudakwashe Sibanda and Castro Sibanda, former national champion Dion Moyo, Tarsisio Chikandi of ZRP Bulawayo, Farai Janyure from ZRP Plumtree, Bulawayo Chess Club’s pair of Russell Dzete and Thabang Moyo, Phakamani Sithole of Nkulumane and ZRP Bulawayo’s Benson Chinodyanama are expected to raise Bulawayo’s flag high at the national competitions.
The absence of top players from the BCA Heroes Open Tournament presents unheralded players with an opportunity to win a major title and be in contention for the end of year Bulawayo Candidates tournament which is open to top 10 players, including those who won BCA organised competitions during the year.
Players expected to capitalize on the absence of top-ranked stars include Spencer Moyo of Filabusi Chess Club, Nust’s Nigel Mabiza, the Bulawayo Polytechnic pair of Maxwell Masare and Ayanda Ndlovu as well as youngster Mlungisi Mafu. — @ZililoR