ZAMBIA’S chess International Master (IM) Richmond Phiri says he is adequately prepared to take on second ranked Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura of United States of America at the World Chess Championship which kicks off tomorrow in Baku, Azerbaijani.
In an interview before flying out from Lusaka yesterday, Phiri said he had been training hard and was therefore optimistic of good performance.
“Nakamura is a good player ,so I expect a tough challenge. But I am mentally prepared for the task ahead of me. My target is to qualify for the 2016 Candidates Tournament,” he said.
Phiri thanked fellow IM Daniel Jere for helping him to prepare for the tournament.
“One needs a great player to help prepare for a competitive tournament like the World Championship. Jere has given me a tough competition throughout the training,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) president Ericho Nshikokola said he had faith that Phiri would put up good performance at the tournament.
“I agree that he is facing a strong opponent in the first game, but I have hope that he will pull through. He just needs to be confident and disciplined to achieve the set target,” Nshikokola said.
He thanked Barn Motel for camping Phiri to make sure that he was well prepared.
“I thank Barn Motel for the free gesture given to us and their support to chess in general. I also commend the National Sports Council of Zambia for ensuring that our IM takes part in this prestigious event,” he said.
The World Chess Championships will run from September 10 to October 4 in Baku.
It will be a 128-player single-elimination chess tournament. The finalists will qualify for the 2016 Candidates Tournament.