Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe chess team were handed heavy defeats, in Group C of Division Two of the 2021 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad, over the past week.
The 10-team group featured chess heavyweights like Israel, Portugal, Sweden and Belarus, among others.
Zimbabwe suffered a shattering loss to Montenegro, by a 5-1 margin, in the first match.
Hopes for glory were reignited in Round Two, with Zimbabwe pulling off a shocker, as they downed Scotland by 3.5-2.5.
With the victory, the team went on to face Sri Lanka, who were high on confidence.
The Asians beat Zimbabwe by 4.5 – 1.5.
The team went on to suffer defeats at the hands of Norway, Belarus, Portugal, Sweden and Israel.
Going into the final round, with just one win and seven losses, Zimbabwe had only pride to preserve, facing a wounded Albania.
Zimbabwe had Rumbidzai Mawire, and Kudzanayi Charinda, as top scorers with 2.5/5, sharing and 2.5 /6 respectively. Juniors Terrence Mureya and Blessing Moyo both scored 2/4 points.
Zimbabwe captain, Charinda, said he was not impressed with their overall perfomance.
“We could have done better. The team was affected by a lot of technical issues, brought about by playing from home.
“Some of our players lost without playing a single move, due to poor network connectivity issues.
“Other technical problems, in using the video conferencing facility, cost us matches.
“And, in the games where we managed to play, our network was lagging behind and that meant our players easily got into time trouble.
“I am however, impressed with the performance of our juniors and, with such exposure, in the future our chess will get to dizzy heights.’’
Zimbabwe Chess Federation president, Collen Tongowona, was impressed with the victories over Scotland and Albania.
“We were knocked out yes but we have a lot to celebrate, the team put their best effort, and pulled some amazing victories, against Albania and Scotland.
“These victories give glimpses, of the great potential, which Zimbabwe Chess has.
“The juniors played a crucial role and that’s what we want to see.’’