Candidate Master (CM) Joseph Mwale and Fide Master (FM) Gerrard Mphungu saved Malawi’s face by forcing draws against Barbados on Tuesday October 2 after their two team mates both lost while the women fell 0-4 to fellow Africans Botswana in the 8th round of the ongoing 43rd World Chess Olympiad taking place in the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia.
The men’s team lost 3-1 after CM Chiletso Chipanga and Richard Chiona lost theirs while the ladies featured Woman Fide Master (WFM) Linda Jambo-Chaononga, Daisy Nkhoma, Magret Ngugama and Annie Simwaba in their 0-4 loss to Botswana.
On Monday, October 1, the ladies team beat fellow Africans Seychelles 3-1 while the men’s drew 2-2 with Jordan in the 7th round.
Nkhoma, Ngugama and Ellen Mpinganjira won while Simwaba lost hers. In the men’s 2-2 draw, FM Mphungu won while brothers Joseph and George Mwale drew. Richard Chiona losing his match.
After 8 rounds played, the men’s team have won two (against Guam 3-1 and Cyprus 2.5-1.5), drew 2-2 with Jordan and lost five against Brazil 0-4; Mongolia 0-4; Belgium 0.5-3.5 and Chinese Taipei 1-3 and now Barbados.
In the 0-4 loss to Brazil, it was their first round played on Monday last week and they were up against an all-grandmaster Brazilian opponents: GM Alexander Fier against FM Mphungu, GM Luis Paulo Supi against George Mwale, GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian against CM Chipanga and GM Felipe de Cresce el Debs against Chiona.
The ladies have done well against fellow Africans, winning two games against Rwanda 2.5-1.5, Seychelles 3-1 and drawing with 2-2 with Namibia.
They have also lost five; against Luxemburg 0-4, Uganda 1.5-2.5, Ireland 0-4 and Thailand 1-3 and today’s 0-4 against Botswana.
The ladies are also facing tough titled opponents when it’s not fellow Africans. In the 1.5-2.5 loss against Uganda in which they won one and drew another, Malawi’s top player WFM Jambo-Chaononga bravely lost to Uganda’s WFM Phiona Mutesi, who is Uganda’s celebrated woman chess player who rose to prominence through the real life movie that Hollywood made called ‘Queen of Katwe’.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale, who is leading the squad, said the players desire is to be in top 100 as the games continue.
So far the individual score cards are as follows:
CM Joseph Mwale: 4.5 points out of 7
CM Chiletso Chipanga: 2 points out of 7
George Mwale: 1.5 points out of 5
FM Gerald Mphungu: 1.5 points out of 7.
Richard Chiona: .5 (half) point out of 5
Ellen Mpinganjira: 3 points out of 6.
Margret Ngugama: 3 points out of 6.
Daisy Nkhoma: 2 points out of 8.
WFM Linda Chaononga:1.5 points out of .
Annie Simwaba: .5 (half) point out of 6.
Current highest rated player for Malawi is Joseph Mwale (2270 elo), who earns his living through chess in South Africa and several times he has been the national champion since 2007 at 14 years old, while still in primary pupil at Kabwabwa Primary school.
Nicknamed ‘The Fear’ due to his aggressive attacking play that hypnotises his opponents, he is this year’s Mdina Malawi Open is the best prospect for Malawi to produce an International Master (IM) in the near future.
CM Chipanga, who is the 2018 African Amateurs Champion and is another prospect for Malawi to produce an IM soon. He is the Malawian record holder of having been to six consecutive chess Olympiads since 2008; the World’s most prestigious chess event on the FIDE (World Chess Federation) calendar.
Team Malawi prepared for the Batumi by undergoing a specialised training camp in Blantyre mentored by Russian GM Vasily Papin, who drilled the squad for two weeks in August.
During the training camp, the Russian Grandmaster Vasily Papin played an exhibition simultaneous matches against 23 players in which he beat 21 and drew with three; CM Chipanga, George Mwale and Daisy Nkhoma.
The last Olympiad in 2016 that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan and Malawi was ably represented there as well through FM Mphungu, CM Petros Mfune, CM Chipanga, Alfred Chimthere and Paul Khuphwathea in Open Section while the ladies were Linda Jambo-Chaononga, Ellen Mpinganjira, Vitumbiko Gondwe, Daisy Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :