The Namibian Chess Federation (NCF) is set to host the first Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) rated blitz games for the first time in Namibian history, president of Chess Federation (NCF), Otto Zandell Nakapunda has revealed.
This will take place during the Independence Seminars on the last Saturday before Independence Day.
“In the past, we were rated for the longer games, but had not achieved an officially World Chess Federation rating yet for blitz games, which are the faster,” said Nakapunda.
Blitz chess is played at a quicker pace than normal chess tournaments, as both players attempt to complete their respective halves of a chess game in 5 to 15 minutes, depending on which rule set they’re playing under.
Nakapunda also revealed to The Villager sport that, after a successful 2014 in which they were able to host chess tournaments in Gobabis and Arandis for the first time, NCF is hoping to emulate that success by unearthing more gems in previously untapped places.
NCF plans to go to Omaruru next however the date has not yet been determined.
“We want to find more chess players and they just might be in places that have never had the opportunity to showcase their skills. We don’t only want to concentrate on Khomas, hence we’ll also be having the Oshakati Open, as well as the Walvis Bay Open, since we’ve previously only focused on Swakop,” says Nakapunda.
After establishing the NAMSPORTS Premier Chess League in 2013, this year will also see the launching of a Division 1 to cater to the growing number of chess enthusiasts. Current holders of the Premier Chess League are Capablanca Chess club, having won it both times since its inception.
Nakapunda says that on the local scene everything has been encouraging, but they would like to do more on a continental and international level but are hampered by funds.
He also says he has been impressed with ladies who have done the most improvement in the last few years. 18 year old Lishen Mentile is Namibia’s highest rated Namibian chess player, ranked 8th in Africa after the 2014 Africa Individual Chess Championships held in December in Windhoek last year.
Mentile hopes to build on her success last year but remains cautious.
“I want to become the Namibian women’s champion this year and also represent Namibia at the Africa Chess Championships in Egypt as well. I also want to do well in the junior team,” she said. She added, “My expectations are high but since I am a first year at university this year, I know it will be more difficult and I’ll have to put in more effort.”