Spencer Masango wins 2019 Zim Open

Candidate Master Spencer Masango won the just ended Zim open which took part from the 21st – the 23rd of December at the Causeway Post Office Canteen the traditional home of chess. This was an eight round tournament which was so pulsating that the winner had to sweat for victory in this tournament.

The top seed CM Masango had stiff opposition from Ian Mashumba with who he lost on time in an interesting end game. The game tension after some people failed to interpret the rules with regards to a rule regarding a draw in which Masango’s time had lapsed. Ian claimed a win on time after he had initially of offered Masango a draw this is when the debate started to rage, however sound judgement of the Arbiter prevailed.

This was his only loss in this tournament. Roy Mwadzura and Elisha Chimbamu led the tourney up to the last day. After round six they led with 5.5 points out of six games of play. Disaster struck on the last day of the tournament when these two leaders lost their games. The leaders were paired against each other in round seven and Roy Mwadzura with the white pieces won his first official game against Elisha Chimbamu who dominated between these two players.

Zhemba Jemusse the other tournament favorite who was seeded second lost to Adolf Muungani in a round three game which also dented his winning chances as he had already budgeted for the first prize money. As if that was enough he was to face another uphill task against an unknown player Gomera Lameck whose rating is 1813. Zhemba’s final game against Tapiwa Gora was another interesting duel which ended as a truce as both players averted a loss either way resulting in a Queen and pawns against Rook and pawn on the seventh rank threatening a mate which Gora averted very well.

There was a position when Gora threatened Zhemba’s King with a rolling Rook which Zhemba captured after it had caused a lot of trouble for him. Gora then promoted a pawn to a Queen with a check that is when the checks started pouring all over the board and there was nowhere the National Champion could stop these unending checks which created a lot of havoc for him. After realizing that there was no progress on the board from either player the players settled for a draw.

This left Zhemba with 6 points while Gora managed a hard fought 6.5 points as well as ensuring that he was tied on third position.Roy Mwadzura failed to capitalize on his lead throughout the tournament when he refused a draw offer against Spencer Masango. This backfired against him as they were under time pressure in blitz ending when he misjudged and played his King on the wrong side of the board resulting in a Queen sacrifice by Spencer Masango which signaled the end of the game as he was to get another Queen and the Bishop would help in mating Roy’s King in the corner.

The young man played arguably his best tournament ever as this was going to be his major tournament win in Zimbabwe though he had won other tourneys. Tapiwa Chikwavaire finished joint first with Masango but his buccholz was a bit inferior as he had a walkover during these games while Masango played against the toughest opponents. Tapiwa Chikwavaire played against Magazine in the final round whom he defeated in a subtle game which had a lot of tactics.

Magazine finished with 6 points. Elisha Chimbamu, Cyril Chigodo and Tapiwa Gora all had 6.5 points out of 8 games played. There was another tie for those with six points namely:Vitalis Mapuranga,Mugove Muririma,Shingai Magazine,Zhemba, Hardwork Sithole,Tinomudaishe Tayengwa,Taurai Muzhingi,Tanaka Katsande who was also the second best scholar,Bulawayo based Kudakwashe Sibanda and Gilbert Shonhiwa completed the list of players who got some prizes. More than 140 players took part in the Open section. Tapiwa Gora was the best disabled player collecting 300 RtGs. Dunmore Mashava was the best under ten player, while Tinaye Madamombe was the best under 13 player. Prince Dhapetha and Nyaera were the best over forty players. Taurai Muzhingi was the best scholar these were the special prizes. The Chief Arbiter was IA Simbarashe Murimi he was assisted by Jarmil Ndoro, James Vhezha, and NA Ndebele.

In the ladies section Christine Makwena was the winner of the section with 7.5 points out of 8 games played. In second position was a tie Linda Shabba, and WCM Kudzanai Charinda. For full results check on www.chess_results.com under Zimbabwe. For both Open and ladies sections.

The incoming President thanked all the participants who took part in the event and for supporting the tournament to be a success. Dr. C.Tongoona is the new man in charge of Zimbabwe chess. He promised that he will bring some great change to chess in Zimbabwe. The closing ceremony witnessed some speaches from the winner CM Masango, President, Vice President, Secretary General Clive Mpambela, and the Treasurer Lloyd Moyo gave a synopsis of the financials for the tournament. The prize structure was improved and the winners went home smiling after collecting their tax free prizes. The President pledged support to the ever supporting parents for the junior chess players who are the future of Zimbabwe chess.

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