Chess adventures in Luanda (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
8/7/2015 – As a result of the quickly evolving city of Luanda, the tournament is often a contrast in what some might expect of an event on the African continent, but the top prizes are more than enough to attract players from abroad, and will no doubt bring more in the years to come. This transition period also brings enormous contrasts seen everywhere and captured in this pictorial.

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I believe most of the participants shared my feeling that the organizers succeeded in offering us an unforgettable week: to the foreigners a new genuine Angola branded experience, with the help of the main sponsor, the Cuca company (their beer tastes great, by the way) and to the local players the chance of getting norms and test their skills against strong opponents.

WFM Lorita Mwango from Zambia finished on the third place in the ladies section

You will hear more from her! WIM Tshepiso Lopang from Botswana, who is
never short of ideas on how to make chess more popular, how to brand it and
how chess players could become rich...fingers crossed for your plans Tshepiso

WFM from Angola, Sonia Rosalina

IM Anna Zozulia and her contagious smile

As in any well-written book, surprises kept coming one after another, even though I had been "vaccinated" during my previous visits in Luanda. Where else in the world could a bottle of "regular" wine cost 800 USD? Or a two star hotel room (without breakfast) 200 USD per night? The numbers and zeroes were spinning in my head as if I were hypnotized, but the same applies when it came to the tournament prizes, for instance 5000 USD for the men section winner and 3500 USD for the first place in the women event. True, if you had to spend them in Angola, they wouldn't last for long...

Great trip for the family! Anna's husband, Vadim Malakhatko shared first in the men section, with 7.5/9.

Fatima Reis from Angola, always an elegant appearance

Fatima receiving some help during the game from her son

Angolan player Caixita Esperança

Though our playing schedule was tight and there were some minor changes on the way, the organizers didn't neglect our touristic program. There was only one issue, when we tried to see a beautiful landscape outside of Luanda, called Miradouro da Lua, but somehow we probably missed the right direction and eventually returned to play our games... Luckily, I had seen it five years ago, so you can enjoy my old images.

I am still smiling when I remember our driver with his... dancing car. The Angolan music, kizomba, made us all dance in his mini-van and the car, well coached by her master, was dancing together with us.

Dancing in the van - Tshepiso, it is all your fault!

Extremely sly and always in an excellent mood, with some driving skills I haven't seen in a long time, the driver seems a typical Angolan exponent, who prefers to leave worries aside and enjoy the day that was gifted to him: that of today.

Fatima Reis and Tshepiso Lopang

Luzia Pires from Angola

Rodwell Makoto from Zimbabwe was fourth seed and finished also in fourth

How was that line again?!

Life in Luanda is not precisely easy though, which was the reason why I sometimes had problems immortalizing the city with my camera: sometimes due to respect for people's bashfulness, because I had to watch my steps while walking or on account of various other factors, but one thing is sure: Angola's capital throbs with energy, being in perpetual motion and change, boosted by the oil's presence. Skyscrapers spring everywhere, the old buildings and ruins are replaced by new edifices, the existing streets are widened at the same time with the construction of new ones, which makes me believe I will not recognize it anymore next year.

Top three ladies

Top three men

And the same is the way Angolan players are progressing, quite rightly so, since their high ambition is easy to perceive. Again and again, I received the same question from the journalists: what do I think about chess in Angola and the answer was identical. The country and its players are writing their own history right now, building up the brand new chess tradition which is about to join with Angola's trademark customs, which don't seem to fade away despite the tumultuous day by day changes. And I see myself “forced” to conclude just as I did with my previous two occasions: I am looking forward already to next year's invitation!

In Angola, The women casually transport everything on their heads

They make it look incredibly easy

Whether objects, or food...

... they will also have their children with them more often than not.

Since I cannot think of a really good book without a surprising end, my trip back home was very much the same... On the last day in Luanda, I received an invitation to Madagascar, so after flying back to Amsterdam and just one day's rest, I am now traveling back to Africa... As strange as it might sound, this option was easier than flying straight from Angola. But more about that in the next report.

Photos by Alina L'Ami

Final men's standings

1 1 GM Adly Ahmed EGY 2591 7.5 45.5
2 3 IM Ider Borya FRA 2414 7.5 45.0
3 2 GM Malakhatko Vadim BEL 2514 7.5 44.0
4 4 IM Makoto Rodwell ZIM 2403 5.5 49.0
5 16   Dias Vanderson ANG 2076 5.0 35.0
6 5 IM Jere Daniel ZAM 2340 5.0 48.0
7 14 CM Miguel Sergio ANG 2158 4.5 49.0
8 9 IM Soares Erikson Roberto Mauric ANG 2217 4.5 43.5
9 17   Gama Edivaldo Jr ANG 2066 4.5 34.5
10 12 FM Pascoal Eduardo A ANG 2180 4.0 50.0
11 13 CM Simoes Joao ANG 2176 4.0 32.5
12 7 IM Silva David ANG 2244 3.5 41.0
13 6 IM Phiri Richmond ZAM 2305 3.5 39.0
14 15 FM Aguiar Cristiano ANG 2100 3.5 33.0
15 11 CM Alberto Manuel ANG 2191 3.0 37.5
16 10 CM Cambando Jose ANG 2208 2.0 39.0
17 8 FM Ramos Aristoteles ANG 2239 1.0 34.5

Final women's standings

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts   TB
1 1 IM L´Ami Alina ROU 2371 8.5 42.0
2 2 IM Zozulia Anna BEL 2331 8.0 41.0
3 3 WFM Mwango Lorita ZAM 1938 6.0 43.0
4 8 WIM Lopang Tshepiso BOT 1753 5.0 42.5
5 5 WFM Rosalina Sonia ANG 1801 5.0 42.0
6 11   Gabriel Irineia G ANG 1609 5.0 41.5
7 6 WIM Caxita Esperanca ANG 1789 4.5 42.5
8 4 WIM Mudongo Boikhutso BOT 1830 4.5 37.5
9 13 WFM Pires Luzia ANG 1533 4.0 46.0
10 9   Rocha Valquiria ANG 1744 3.5 34.5
11 7 WIM Domingos Maria M ANG 1775 3.0 45.0
12 12 WCM Reis Fatima ANG 1608 3.0 40.0
13 10   Sussu Margarida ANG 1639 3.0 35.0

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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