After an epic story of overcoming adversity, the one-time handmade soap maker, Vinay Choudary, now owner of Tanzania’s top internet provider, organized the Spicenet Open Chess Championship in Tanzania, and invited chess ambassadors GM Nigel Short and WGM Alina L’Ami to honor the event and give it a touch of class.
L’Ami, a Romanian, writes on Chessbase “It was a warning for me that I shouldn’t blindly believe everything that’s on TV, which most of the times is just partially true. Most people live in the 21st century (including Tanzania).
“Chess in Tanzania was dormant for more than 15 years, present but not in the spotlight; it was time for something to be done. And once again, things happened differently than what one (or his preconceptions) might expect. This is the first time I hear that a sponsor goes to a chess federation and not the other way around. And probably for the first time in the history of FIDE, a tournament is held before the organizing federation was asking for affiliation. In fact, the tournament was held under the patronage of the chess federation of Uganda, which is a FIDE member already and has previously allowed Tanzanian players to participate in various tournaments under the Ugandan flag as well.
“The brain behind the entire operation is the Indian Vinay Choudary, the owner of Spicenet. His personal story is as tumultuous and surprising as the sudden Tanzanian chess wakening. At 16 he left home, driven by his enthusiastic and creative business ideas: making soap according to a certain formula was one of them – he failed.
“Returning home, he found himself in debt and with a family to look after. But not everyone is allergic to the idea of failure; he switched to a completely new field: dairy products, then teaching, then heard about a job in Tanzania which proved to be nonexistent… Once here though, he fell back on a vertical position, like a tumbler toy. Today Spicenet, his internet provider company, is one of the most stable and reliable on the market.”
As expected Nigel Short on Six won from Elijah Emojong of Uganda, Kelvin Chumfwa, Zambia, Haruna Nsubuga, Uganda and Reddy Deepthamsh, India on five.