Chess: All Olympiad qualifiers pushed to May

The second phase of qualifiers to pick Rwanda’s flag bearers – in the open section – for the 44th Chess Olympiad, which was due to continue this weekend at Classic Hotel in Kigali, has been postponed after some top players failed to make it on Saturday, the chess federation has announced.

This implies all the remaining games including the initial qualifiers round in the women's section, are all pushed to mid-May.

 

The chess federation president, Kevin Ganza, said: "The tournament got postponed based on the fact some best players who had qualified from the preliminary phase could not make it to the second phase due to circumstances beyond their control.

 

"The decision was made after agreement with all other qualified players and on the basis of looking for the best team Rwanda can have. The last qualifier games will be held in May 2020."

 

Only 12 players are competing for the five available slots on the national team in the open section after eight players who made it through the first phase in January joined four higher-ranked players who had a bye in the preliminary phase.

There were, however, last minute changes after two players dropped out on Friday.

Fidele Mutabazi informed organizers that he could not make the second phase games as he was out of the country. Ben Tom Zimurinda, who was number six in January, also announced he was withdrawing.

Early Saturday morning, national champion CM Godfrey Kabera also announced that he could not make it due to sudden work related reasons.

Five players are selected in each section.

Organized by the world chess federation (FIDE), the Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament bringing together teams from all over the world.

The 2020 edition will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from August 5 to 18.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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