CUCA International in Angola

by ChessBase
5/18/2011 – In a sign of the enormous reconstruction efforts being made in Angola, the CUCA international Chess event is being held in the capital Luanda. The Open brought star chess globetrotters, Nigel Short and Sergey Tiviakov, not to mention the generous prize fund, and the Women's event has also been given its due. With his tireless camera, here is a large pictorial by Sergey Tiviakov.

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From May 15 to May 28, the CUCA International Chess tournament is taking place in Luanda, Angola. It is comprised of two events, an Open, and a Women's event, both of which are nine-round swiss tournaments played at 40 moves for 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30-second increment as of move one. The event is sponsored by CUCA brewery, the largest in Angola, has generous conditions including room and board for IM/GMs as well as WGM/WIM/WFMs. The first prizes for the men's event are 1st - US$ 5000, 2nd - US$ 4000, 3rd - US$3000, 4th US$ 2000, 5th - US$ 500. The top prizes in the Women's event are 1st - US$ 3000, 2nd - US$ 2000, 3rd - US$1500, 4th US$ 1000, 5th - US$ 500.

Chess in Angola

Photo report by Sergey Tiviakov

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The Republic of Angola has a total area of 1246 km2 and is divided administratively into 18 provinces, 163 municipalities and 376 communes. Recent data from the United Nations estimates the population at around 18 million inhabitants, of which more than 50% live in major cities.

The official language is Portuguese and the main national languages the Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo, Tchokwe, and Fiot Cuanhama. Its official currency is the Kwanza, the currency used for commercial trade.

The name Angola comes from the Bantu word N'gola, the title of the region's rulers in the XVI century, the same period in which the Portuguese began colonizing the area. The Portuguese arrived in Congo in 1482, in an expedition led by Diogo Cão.

Luanda, the capital, as well as main administrative and economic center of Angola, is one of the oldest cities on the African continent, and the first to be established by Europeans in Africa, south of the Sahara. It was founded in 1575 by Paulo Dias de Novais, with the name St. Paul of Loanda (São Paulo de Loanda) and has an estimated population of five million inhabitants.

As yet, there is no consensus on the origin of its name, attributed by some to the original inhabitants of Cape Island, the Auxiluanda ('men of the isle'), and by others to the translation in Kimbundo of the words 'net' or 'mat' ('luandu') or tribute (as it was on this isle that the shells (Zimbo) used to pay tribute to the Kingdom of Kongo were gathered).

The opening ceremony with TV and radio

The two strongest players in the event, GM Nigel Short and Sergey Tiviakov

Which is not to say they are the only GMs. To the right is Portuguese GM Luis Galego

In blue, Portuguese GM Antonio Fernandes awaits the start of the first round

The Women's event with Romanian WGM Alina L'Ami in navy blue

WIM Anzel Solomons in beige

A view from above of the playing hall

Notable players and figures from Angolan chess

The intrepid reporter poses in front of the National Bank

Another view of the bank and its colonial architecture

A colonial house

The arcade promenade vaguely remniscent of Rue de Rivoli

The city of Luanda is still replete with a mixture of colonial buildings, such as the
headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs...

... as well as the gradual modernization very much underway.

The number of cranes and construction sites are a sign of the country's building and
rebuilding effort now that they have experienced years of economic and political stability.

A view of the fortress of St. Pedro da Barra (1618)

This reconstruction has not been comprehensive and one can see the contrast of
impoverished habitations with the richer ones,

A sign of the work still ahead

Many streetsellers sell directly to passengers riding a bus and
quickly negotiate price and sale

A young streetseller balancing her wares on her head with an
infant behind her.

WGM Alina L'Ami poses in front of a colonial church

The inside is also typical of the Portuguese colonial style

Another church viewed at night

CUCA is the largest beer manufacturer in Angola and generous
patron of the tournament.

A picture of the CUCA building in Lunada in the late 70s

Another view of Luanda in circa 1977-1979

Sergey Tiviakov and Alina L'Ami enjoying dinner at the hotel's restaurant

WIM Anzel Solomons and her husband CM Deon Solomons

Nigel Short in good spirits with Sergey Tiviakov (in a more guarded mood)


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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