Chessam sources K900 000 for Easter Chess Open tourneys

Following the withdrawal of the Mdina Open sponsorship, Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) has sourced MK900,000 to bankroll three Chess Opens scheduled for this Easter weekend in all three of its regional affiliates, Southern, Central and Northern leagues.

Chinthere: Chessam publicist

Chessam publicity secretary, Alfred Chinthere said the Tournaments will be hosted in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and will be rated.

On Monday, Chessam were taken aback at the announcement of the withdrawal of sponsorship by South Africa-based Malawian firm, Mdina Engineering but was quick to say it will pursue further dialogue with the sponsor to honour just the last tournament he pledged to do during last year’s 9th edition.

Sponsor Tiwone Mdina was quoted in the local media on Monday as saying it is a point of no return with chess he has been supporting for nine years since 2009, saying he is considering supporting other deserving sports disciplines.

“Unforeseen circumstances have cause an abrupt end to the Mdina Marathon,” Tione is quoted as saying.

However, in a statement, Chessam publicity secretary Alfred Chinthere says there has always been a ‘contact and dialogue’ approach to the sponsor and that since last year’s event effort has been made to persuade Mdina to rescind his decision and continue sponsoring beyond this year (2019).

“Chessam submitted all related correspondences to the sponsor and has waited patiently for confirmation of this year’s Mdina tournament. In regard to the article in the newspaper, Chessam will seek a proper communication from the sponsor, using contact and dialogue as a remedy.

“Suffice to say that the media article will not be construed by Chessam as such notice. We are keeping our lines open for discussions [because] Chessam appreciates the support Mdina has given all these years, which has improved the game of chess in Malawi.”

At a prize presentation of the tournament last year, Mdina’s representative, Jeka Chipofya, had disclosed that to celebrate the 10th edition of the Malawi Chess Open, the winner in the Open Section shall go home with a cool MK1 million.

The 9th edition was won South Africa-based Malawian Joseph Mwale carried the flag high ahead of compatriots and players from Mozambique and Zambia to become the first Malawian to lift the trophy since it turned international in 2016.

In that year Zambia Candidate Master (CM) Godwin Phiri won it and the following year the feat was achieved by another Zambian, International Master (IM) Chitumbo Mwali.

The tournament was introduced in 2009 for local players only and the sponsor decided to make it international to expose the Malawian players further and it has reaped its fruits.

One proud product of the Mdina Open is national and African Amateur champion, CM Chiletso Chipanga, who won it in 2012 when it was for local players and came third in the 2018 edition.

Chiletso was crowned African Amateurs champion in Zambia in February last year and he qualified for World Amateurs that were held in Cagliari, Italy where he finished an impressive 6th position out of 49 participants.

Out of nine rounds played at the World Amateurs, Chipanga won six and lost three to garner six points, just one point behind eventual winner, Singh Arvider Preet of India, who had 7 points tieing with Galavato Miguel Angel of Colombia, who came second.

Through his commitment to chess, it attracted the attention of All Africa Chess Federation, who awarded sponsor Tione Mdina with the honour of the 11th  Wonder of African Chess for being the first African sponsor to flight a chess billboard in an African city advertising the Malawi Open.

Also recognised by All Africa Chess was Joseph Mwale, who is the 8th Wonder for being the youngest ever chess champion of an African country in 2007 at the age of 13.

According to africachessmedia.com, the other player closest to breaking this record was Namibian champion Dante Beukes, who became Namibian champion at age 14.

Meanwhile, as per previous advertisement in which Chessam intends to improve its logo, a panel of judges has been approved by its president, Susan Namangale, to select the best logo among the entries that will espouse values of the association.

The panelists has Mayeso Mphande as chairperson and members Francis Kadzula (NRCL), Peter Jailosi (SRCL), Ernest Matola (CRCL and ICT advisor), Daisy Nkhoma (CRCL and ladies rep) and Chinthere.

The task team starts work immediately and will have a period of 7 days to choose the best logo and advise Chessam the winning entry that attracts MK20000 and a chessboard as its prize.

The new logo is expected to be  unveiled at the prize giving ceremony on one of the league Open tournaments.

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