Exhibition chess for Egypt’s martyrs
By Tamer Mohamed – The Egyptian Gazette
Monday, May 23, 2011 08:12:38 PM

CAIRO – Egypt’s world junior chess champion Ahmed Adly played last week an exhibition game at Al-Gezira Sporting Club in Cairo against 26 players, ranging in age from 10 to 77 years

It was a charity event, organised by Al-Gezira Club in co-operation with the Canadian Egyptian Business Council (CEBC) and the Egyptian Chess Federation, with the proceeds going to the families of the revolutionary martyrs.

Chess is an entertaining and competitive sport that can be used very effectively as a tool to teach problem-solving and abstract thinking. Learning how to solve a problem is more important than learning the solution to any particular problem.

The event, attended by Islam el-Sanhoury, the Board Chairman of Al-Gezira Club, and Moustafa Abul Kheir, the President of the Egyptian Chess Federation, and members of the CEBC, generated a huge turnout of fans and Al-Gezira supporters in the historic ‘Lido’ building, constructed in 1935.

The exhibition lasted around three hours and Adly won every game. “It gave players more experience and helped bring out the very best in them. This is very good for chess in Egypt,” el-Sanhoury told the Egyptian Mail.

“It was amazing. Adly was blindfolded when he played the last game against the best of the 26 players,” el-Sanhoury said. Adly won the last game in only six moves.

Adly, born in 1987, won the African Chess Championship in 2005 and the World Junior Chess Championship in 2007. He also grabbed the bronze medal at the Under-18 World Championships, held in Greece in 2004.

He tied for 1st-5th with Gabriel Sargissian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Igor-Alexandre Nataf and Pendyala Harikrishna in the Reykjavik Open in 2006. In 2008, he tied for 1st-3rd with Zigurds Lanka and Dorian Rogozenko in Hamburg.

Abul Kheir, meanwhile, was delighted, as this game represented a real start for chess in the country, even though the ECF organised a tournament for women a fortnight ago.

Around 60 sporting clubs in Egypt include chess in their activities. Abul Kheir expects that the number will increase in the near future and that this challenging board game will grow in popularity.

He has stressed that the country has many talented shooting stars, who could achieve great things in the near future, including Ahmed Adly, Mona Khaled and Bassem Samir.

Samir was the 2008 bronze medallist in the World Junior Chess Championship, an under-20 chess tournament. Both he and Adly, the first player from the African continent to win a major world title, are chess grandmasters.

As for Mona, 17, she won the Arab Girls Under-20 Championship to become the youngest Woman International Master and earn a WGM (Women Grand Master) title as well.

“The ECF is one of the oldest federations, as it was established in 1899, under the chairmanship of Zein el-Sadat,” Abul Kheir said, adding that the Federation joined the Arab and International Federation in 1990.

Abul Kheir has pointed out that the ECF’s agenda for 2011 is a full one. The Egyptian youth team will participate in the Egyptian Chess Championship in Alexandria at the end of June, as well as the Sudanese Chess Championship.

“We are going to be focusing in the near future on discovering more talented players, especially in Upper Egypt,” said Abul Kheir, adding that officials should encourage chess as a sport at school, as it helps pupils with their studies.

Yasser Taha, who did much to help organise this exhibition game, stressed the importance of chess for everyone. “It was great that money was raised for the families of the revolutionary martyrs,” he told this newspaper.

“One of the things that chess does is to teach the importance of planning. This game can be a lifelong source of interest, amusement and satisfaction.”


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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