Zimbabwe’s International Chess Master Robert Gwaze convincingly won the Angola CUCA International chess tournament with 8 points out of a possible maximum of 9. He was a full point ahead of his nearest rival, fellow International Master South Africa’s Watu Kobese.
The tournament fielded at least 2 grandmasters GM Luis Galego of Portugal and GM Oleg Korneev of Russia, 5 International Masters (IM) and 3 FIDE Masters (FM). It was played in Sede Social da FAX, Luanda, capital City of Angola from 13 to 19 May 2010. Given the strong field Robert Gwaze’s performance is all the more impressive. Watu Kobese turned back the years to give a vintage performance. A strong positional player, Watu beat Peter Leko and Judit Polgar several years ago. At the time the two grandmasters were among the very top grandmasters in the world.
Robert Gwaze, who is Zimbabwe’s greatest hope of a Grandmaster has been very active on the chess scene lately. Crisscrossing national boundaries he has recently won tournaments in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa and is mowing the opposition. He won the Gold medal at 2002 Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia winning all his 9 games with an incredible 2690 performance. To interpret his performance in that tournament Gwaze played like a super grandmaster.
It has been several years since the Bled performance but Gwaze is showing that he is still the player to beat. Will Robert Gwaze follow in the footsteps of his namesake, the great American Robert James Fischer and make it all the way to the Grandmaster title? Bobby Fischer came from a period of chess inactivity (Fischer was on semi- retirement in the mid 1960s when he skipped a number of tournaments) to trounce top grandmasters in the candidates matches in the form of Tigran Petrosian, Bent Larsen and Mark Taimov in the early 1970s on his way to becoming chess king in 1972 after beating Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland.
There seems to be a sense of urgency in the way Gwaze is going about his business. If Gwaze continues like this there is no doubt that he will achieve his dream and fulfill the hopes of an expectant nation and continent. Despite the challenges he faces such as lack of sponsorship and few strong tournaments in the Region, there is no doubt that Robert Gwaze still has a great deal to offer chess. BTM