Chinese Taipei, Thailand next against Team Malawi at chess Olympiad

Team Malawi next date Chinese Taipei on Sunday for the men’s while the women face Thailand at the ongoing 43rd World Chess Olympiad taking place in the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia.

Team Malawi’s ladies squad

On Friday, team Malawi’s top ranked player Joseph Mwale saved the men’s team from annilation by drawing with International Master (IM) Mher Hovhannisyan of Belgium as the other three lost while the ladies all lost to Ireland

In the men’s category, Belgium, which featured three International Masters (IM), won 3.5-0.5 in which IM Francois Godart beat Gerrard Mphungu, IM Stefan Docx beat George Mwale while CM Chiletso Chipanga lost to Fide Master (FM) Daniel Dardha.

In the women’ section, Ireland had Woman Candidate Master (WFM) Gearoidin Laighleis beating  Ellen Mpinganjira, WFM Hannah Lowry O’Reilly beating Daisy Nkhoma, WFM Linda Jambo-Chaononga losing to Mercedes Plaza Reino while Magret Ngugama lost to Eibhia NI Mhui Reagain.

The Olympiad went for a day off break on Saturday after 5 rounds had been played.

On Thursday, the ladies team salvaged some pride by beating fellow Africans Rwanda 2.5-1.5 after the men’s side lost all four games against Mongolia in the 4th round.

The ladies won through Linda Jambo-Chaononga and Magret Ngugama and Daisy Nkhoma drew while 14-year old student at Katoto Secondary Annie Simwaka lost hers.

Mongolia’s men’s team featured one grandmaster, two international Masters and one FIDE master. Malawi’s FM Mphungu met GM Stegner Batchuluun, IM Namkhai Battulga met George Mwale, IM Gombosuren Munkhgal was up against CM Chiletso Chipanga and FM Urtnasam Nasanjargal  was up against CM Joseph Mwale.

On Wednesday, Team Malawi men’s beat Cyprus 2.5-1.5 in their third round while the ladies drew 2-2 with fellow Africans Namibia.

CM Chiletso Chipanga and CM Joseph Mwale won their matches while Richard Chiona drew and Fide Master (FM) Gerald Mphungu lost.

The ladies team drew, won two games and also lost two.

In the second round on Tuesday, September 25 the men’s team beat Guam 3-1 while the ladies lost won one, drew one and lost two to fellow Africans Uganda.

In the women’s section, Malawi’s top player WFM Linda Jambo-Chaononga bravely lost to Uganda’s WFM Phiona Mutesi. Mutesi is Uganda’s celebrated woman chess player, who also rose to prominence through the real life  movie that Hollywood made called ‘Queen of Katwe’.

In their first matches played on Monday, the men’s team fell 0-4 to an all-grandmaster Brazilian opponents: GM Alexander Fier against Fide Master (FM) Gerrard Mphungu, GM Luis Paulo Supi against George Mwale, GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian against Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga and GM Felipe de Cresce el Debs against Richard Chiona.

The women’s opponents were also beaten 0-4 by Luxembourg’s Grandmaster (WGM) Elvira Berend, two International Master (WIM) Liana Aghabekiam, Fiona Steil-Antoni, one Fidemaster (WFM) Grayna Bakalarz and WCM Hanten Elsa.

Joseph Mwale, who is one of Team Malawi’s strong players, missed the thrashing by Brazil because he arrived late as he had to fly out from his base in South Africa to connect with the rest of the squad in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital city and in the two games he has played he won both.

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.

The Malawi team departed last Saturday after 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.

CM Chipanga, who is the 2018 African Amateurs Champion and is also the inspirational for the squad, 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.

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,  Ellen Mpinganjira, Vitumbiko Gondwe, Daisy Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa.

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