Several goals were set earlier this year in April at the National Sports Conference focused around the theme of ‘creating a winning sporting nation’ and the Namibia Chess Federation (NCF) as one of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) affiliated sport codes present at that indaba embarked on a challenge to be one of the very first sporting codes to achieve these set national sporting goals.
One of the major goals that the NCF seeks to carry out is that of capacity building and nationalizing of the chess as a dominant sport code in the country.
The NCF has for some time struggled to host FIDE (World Chess Federation) rated tournaments on its own, so much so that the employment of arbiters from neighboring countries had to be undertaken in order for the country to host any international or regional chess tournaments.
As of September this year, this privation of chess arbiters has fortunately become a thing of the past.
Eight newly qualified FIDE arbiters join the ranks of the three Namibian existing FIDE arbiters after attending and passing a FIDE arbiter’s course held in the capital between 12 to 14 September. This course was held by the NCF under the auspices of FIDE through the facilitation of internationally acclaimed FIDE lecturer and FIDE Arbiters' Commission Councilor IA Werner Stubenvoll from Austria.
Apart from the eight FIDE arbiters, six participants of the same FIDE course also qualified as National arbiters bringing the number of qualified chess arbiters to an outstanding 18 – which is more than enough to host several national and international tournaments countrywide.
El-Shaddai Aluteni and Melitta Kgobetsi-Mathe made history by qualifying as Namibia’s very first female FIDE arbiters.
The other newly qualified FIDE arbiters include Charles Eichab, Billy Chisenga, McLean Handjaba, Otto Nakapunda Immanuel Gariseb and Peter Gallert. Whilst the six National arbiters are Regnald Hangula, Johannes Nyandi, Titus Uukelo, Kandoza Shituna, Tuahepa Casper and Brian Jaftha.
The boost in manpower comes just at a time when the NCF is endeavoring in hosting training seminars in all regions and at the same time spearheading a chess-in-schools initiative which will see chess being made part of the Namibian school primary and secondary curricula.