Non-titled Zambian chess player Goodwin Phiri is the new champion for Mdina Malawi Open Chess Championship following his triumph during the nine-round tournament hel from Friday to Sunday at Simama Hotel in Lilongwe.
The 25-year old chess star did it in grand style, beating pre-tournament favourite International Master Chitumbo Mwali also from Zambia, who recently won the Muleso-Mphande Malawi Open Chess Championship held at the same venue.
Defending Champion Petros ‘Razor-Blade’ Mfune also fell victim to the youthful Zambian player, who only lost against South African based Malawian whiz kid Joseph Mwale.
For winning the tournament, Phiri went away with a trophy and MK360,000 cash from Mdina Business Solutions and Engineering.
IM Mwali finished level on eight points with Phiri but missed the top spot as Fide Arbiter Gilton Nkumbwa applied the Direct Encounter/Head-to-head tie-breaking system. Mwali got MK215,000 from the sponsors.
Third-placed Mwale, who was making a come-back after the lifting of his ban by Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) came third with 6.5 points. He received K75,000. Mfune and another local player Davie Mawango completed the top five list with six apiece but the deposed champion had an edge during tie-break to claim the K25,000 fourth prize.
The rest of the top ten positions were as follows: 6th FM Douglas Munenga (Zambia), 7th CM Alfred Chimthere, 8th CM Chiletso Chipanga, 9th CM Joseph Nyambalo, 10th Mukanka Botha (Zambia).
Apart from the cash prizes, the top five received branded t-shirts from Mdina Business Solutions. Players from positions 5 to 10 got K5,000 consolation prizes from Chessam.
Local Fide Master Gerald Mphungu finished outside the top ten on 12th position with five points out of the maximum nine.
The tournament, which attracted 28 Malawian players and six Zambians had an interesting twist that saw Mfune losing to IM Mwali, the Zambian IM losing to Phiri and the champion losing to Joseph Mwale, who lost to Mfune.
Chessam Vice President Mark Chikoko hailed Mdina Business Solutions for sponsoring the tournament for a seventh-year running and including foreign players. He also paid tribute to management of Simama Hotel for once again offering a free venue for the games.
A representative from Mdina Business Solutions Grant Kankhulungo praised the participating players for putting up a grand show.
“With the presence of the Zambian players, the competition was very stiff. This is what we were looking for as sponsors and you can be rest assured that we are coming again next year with a bigger sponsorship,” said Kankhulungo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :