MATHEWS KABAMBA, Kitwe
INTERNATIONAL Master (IM) Richmond Phiri on Saturday outsmarted Candidate Master (CM) Ahmed Bouzidi at the ongoing Africa Individual Chess Championship in Algeria.
The victory at Liberty Hotel in the coastal city of Oran revived Phiri’s chances of securing a slot at the forthcoming 2017 FIDE Chess World Cup slated for Tbilisi, Georgia.
Phiri has five points, a tie behind leader Egyptian Grand Master (GM) Amin Bassem, who is on 5.5 points with two rounds before the end of Africa’s prestigious chess event.
IM Daniel Cawdery of South Africa is second also on 5.5 points, but has a weaker tie breaker than Bassem, while GM Adly Ahmed is third with five points but has a stronger tie breaker than Phiri.
After an unimpressive round six show, Phiri did not leave anything to chance in the round of seven as he put up a spirited fight to outsmart eighth placed Tunisian Bouzidi.
Bassem and Ahmed have already secured slots at the World Cup after winning their respective qualifying tournaments earlier this year.
This gives Phiri an advantage as the Zambian will qualify for the global event if he finishes among the top four in Algeria.
His compatriot IM Chitumbo Mwali’s unfortunate run at the tournament continued after slipping three rungs to 14th position following his round seven loss to Egyptian GM El Gindy Essam.
Mwali has 3.5 points and the 2015 Botswana Open winner has a chance to salvage some pride when he takes on Hamdan Abderahmane El Hadi of Algeria.