ZAMBIA’S International Master (IM) Richmond Phiri was on Saturday eliminated from the World Chess Championship race in Baku, Azerbaijan after losing both his games to World’s number two Grandmaster Hikaru Nakmura of United States of America.
In the first game played on Friday night, Phiri lost to Nakmura despite putting up a strong challenge. Phiri opened the game with the Queens gambit and was composed in the first 15 moves.
The Zambian IM held on to the Grandmaster up to the 35th move but broke his balance and later gave up in the 40th move. The tightly contested game ended in a 1-0 result in favour of Nakmura.
On Saturday, Phiri was apprehensive while Nakmura exhibited his Grandmaster moves to make his way to the next round.
Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) president Ericho Nshikokola said Phiri played a highly ranked opponent therefore he was tactically beaten.
Nshikokola said Phiri also lacked confidence which contributed to his performance.
“In the opening game, he put in a strong fight but he lost balance after the 35th move. Phiri is in a lower rank so playing World’s number two player is not an easy task. I am happy he felt the tough competition and assessed his abilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nshikokola yesterday donated five chess sets worth K500 in his personal capacity to Handmaids Convent Girls School in Ibex Hill, Lusaka.
“This is a personal donation which I pledged to the school at a PTA meeting in June. It is an equipment of five chess sets,
“The purpose of the donation is to provide an active platform of using time constructively for the girl child,” he said.