I was taught how to play chess at the age of 13 when I was in grade 7 by my peers. When I enrolled for secondary school at Churchill Boys High School (2008-2013), chess was not my first preferred choice for clubs. The whole of January during form 1 I attended French club meetings only, then one day our meeting was cancelled. On my way home I stumbled upon a chess club meeting and decided to try my hand.
That day I lost all my games and was made fun of my chess abilities, I found out that a classmate of mine Dudley Tanyanyiwa was part of the club and decided to join. He became my sparring partner till Lawrence Zhuwawu joined, who became my main sparring partner at Churchill for the better part of 4 years. About a month after joining I played my first competitive match against Dudley for the form 1 spot on the team to represent Churchill at St George’s Festival and won. At my first tournament, I managed a score of 3/6. My dad bought a magnetic chessboard that had no coordinates that we used to play countless games some recorded though in old notation.
My next tournament was the Harare Schools Chess Championships in December, where I only managed a score of 4.5/9. After this tournament, my dad bought 4 books that shaped the way I approach till this day, How Bobby Fischer Plays Chess, Hyper Modern Chess, Art of the Middlegame and The 1972 World Championship Match. From Fischer I appreciated his determination and commitment to the game and from Hyper Modern Chess a book on Aron Nimzovich I gained great respect of the knight. Before the end of 2008 I met a guy named Tendai who had just moved close to where I stayed in Cranebourne. He had finished high school and was a very good player. I played him a lot of games were he crushed me in every way possible especially in the king’s gambit. He was a crucial part in my development.
In 2009 when I was form 2 I won the Harare U16 category in March and qualified for National Scholars Championships scheduled for August were I came 2nd. During the provincial team training sessions I met Masimba Mezeldeck and Farirai Gumbe. They started a chess club based at Prince Edward School called Zimmate and invited me, Paidaishe Zengeni, Langton Mwanza, Rejoice Ngwarati and Lenard. We trained every Saturday for almost 2 years. They are the only people that I consider my coaches till this day and owe my achievements to their advice and guidance even till this day. In 2010 I won the Under 18 National Scholars championships at the age of 15 years 9 months, a year after working with Masimba and Farirai.
During high school, I won 3 National scholars Championships (U17, U18 and U20) and 2 runner ups (U18 and U16), numerous board prizes in team competitions, a couple of provincial championships (U16 and U18) and a couple of best scholar accolades in open tournaments. Internationally I only attended two Africa Youth Chess Championships (2010 and 2011) and no World Youth Championships due to financial constraints. During my tertiary years, I captained my team to a silver medal at the ZUSA games in 2017. Last year at the Candidates I was 4th and 4th at ZimOpen with no single defeat and gained 60 Elo points. I took part in the just-ended inaugural online Zone 4.5 Chess Championships as part of team Zimbabwe and had a score of 2.5/4.Post published in: Featured