By Oliver Shalala
Tue 24 June 2014, 14:00
THE prize discrepancy between male and female chess players in tournaments has raised concerns among officials.
And the country's top players are expected to compete for the Heroes and Unity Chess championship next month.
Lusaka Province Chess Association official Maybin Chinama observed that it was discouraging to see that female players were way behind in prizes as compared to their male counterparts.
Chinama said the discrepancy was not helpful in the fight to reduce the gender imbalance in the sport.
"There is a very big discrepancy (K16,000 to K3,000) indeed. This is very discouraging on the ladies part. 12 male prizes to three female (prizes) is amazing. Ladies' representatives should have input when designing the prize structures. The Lusaka League is trying to narrow down on gender imbalance and as such ladies will be having input on the ladies prize structure," said Chinama.
In open section category, the first prize has been pegged at K5,000 plus a trophy, the second prize is K3,500 while the third and fourth are K2,500 and K1,500 respectively.
The Women Championship section prizes however include the first prize of K1,500 and a trophy, second prize of K900 and K600 for third prize.
There will also be a best over 40-years section where the winner will go home with a prize of K600 and a trophy and in the Under-15 sections for boys and girls, first prize of K200 and a trophy, second prize of K150 and third prize of K100 have been lined up.
Meanwhile, the CFZ has announced that the Heroes and Unity Chess championship will run from July 5 to 8 at the Go Centre.
The annual tournament will be used to rate senior players and select members for the junior national team.
CFZ tournament director Aaron Banda said the tournament would help the national team players be competitive ahead of the World Chess Olympiads in August.
The tournament also comes at a time when all the highly-rated chess players in the country, except Grand Master Amon Simutowe, are actively playing tournament chess.
Some of the notable players expected to compete include International Masters Stanley Chumfwa, Chitumbo Mwali, Daniel Jere and Zone 4.3 champion Gillian Bwalya.
All the sections of the 2014 Heroes and Unity Championship will be FIDE rated, meaning players can increase their rankings by beating others during this tournament.