The Zambia Chess Federation says it has raised K800,000 in excess for the hosting of the 2018 chess open tournament scheduled for 10th to 12th August.

The federation also revealed that three grand masters from India(2) and Egypt(1) will participate in the tournament that will be held at government complex in Lusaka.

The players will be battling for the prize of K200,000.

Speaking to the media yesterday Lusaka, federation president Patrick Chilufya said the tournament was also aimed at helping the chess national team sharpen their skills before they could depart for Olympic Games in Georgia.

“This is going to be the biggest open tournament that the country will have. Our national champion will be in attendance and three grand masters will also participate. We have also managed to exceed our set budget and money is still trekking in at a good pace,” Chilufya said.

The president also said more than 300 participants had already confirmed participation in the tournament while others were still registering.

Mr Chilufya further said the tournament would create an opportunity to begin a chess programme in schools adding that schools act as talent reservoirs.

“We will launch a chess programme that will identify and mentor talent in schools so that we are able to have ranging categories at national level. If possible, we will convince the Ministry of General Education to consider adding chess in the syllabus as it has a cognitive impact on learners, The chess national team is training online with the Ukrainian coach and we want a situation where we afford to bring the coach right here in Zambia after this tournament,” added Chilufya.

Meanwhile, national champion Andrew Kayonde described the tournament as a game changer and a well-organised one.

“It is the biggest open tournament and I’m well prepared for it. We always face difficulties beating North African opponents but I will do my best to ensure I manage to win. My colleagues and I will train hard and make Zambia and the corporate world sponsoring the tournament proud,” said Kayonde.

He also noted the need to give local chess players more exposure with seniors.

“I’m very happy that we will be interacting with world grand masters and I would really want such interactions to be made more often. We can learn one or two things from world grand masters,” noted Kayonde.