Zimbabwe jailed chess players in Intercontinental Championships

the herald

Herald Reporter

A national chess team from prisons across the country will take part in the 2nd Intercontinental Online Chess Championships for Prisoners tomorrow.

The Zimbabwe team, which is the only African team taking part in the championships, was beaten to pole position by their fellow teammates from Mongolia in the inaugural championships held last year.

Speaking from Chikurubi maximum security prison in Harare, the team’s coach, who is also one of the country’s top chess players.
Rank 1 officer Cyril Chigodo said his charges were eager to go.

“The championship is part of the ‘Chess for Freedom’ program which was launched in May 2021 and has become an essential part of social initiatives where chess is used to educate and empower various groups in society,” he said. .

Chigodo said she hoped to have a women’s team in the next tournament as she didn’t have adequate tools when preparing for it.

The first Intercontinental Prisoner Championships were held in October 2021 with 41 teams representing 30 countries. This time the teams have doubled to 85, of which 12 women’s teams and 14 youth teams consisting of four players with unlimited substitutes will play in the group stages.

The prisoners are divided into groups and will first compete in a round robin chess tournament. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Championship Round on October 14.

“We trained well and now we are ready to face the other teams. Last time we were beaten by Mongolia and this time we are taking home the trophy,” he said.

Inmate and team player Jeff Musemwa said while he was ready for tomorrow’s game, his call was for businesses and the public to support the team by providing clocks, desktop computers and laptop.

Another player, Nhamo Mutemamombe, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence, said chess has become a way for him to beat stress.

“I learned chess when I started serving my prison sentence. I find it helps me de-stress and is a good path towards my rehabilitation,” Mutemamombe said.

Zimbabwe Chess Federation administrator Kudakwashe Sibanda said he was working hand in hand with Zimbabwe’s prisons and correctional service to promote chess as a means of rehabilitating prisoners.

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