Sponsors for the just ended Divine Planet/Africa Global Travel & Tours Open Chess tournament have promised to come bigger and better during next year’s edition of the tournament.
A total of 73 players, including five Zambians and three Mozambicans took part in this year’s tournament held at Baptist Theological Seminary in Lilongwe from last Friday to Sunday. This, according to chess followers is a record attendance in local chess history.
Speaking when presenting prizes to winners of both the Open and Ladies’ sections, managing director of Divine Planet Deborah Mphande said the two companies were greatly impressed with the organisation and players’ participation in the three-day event.
“As sponsors, we have been greatly impressed with both the organisation of the competition and the participation. It was not easy for the organising committee to administer a competition of such magnitude. Next year prepare yourself for a bigger and better tournament,” said Mphande, who was in the company of Africa Global Travel & Tours senior manager Hellen Muleso.
Zambian International Master Gillian Bwalya won the tournament after collecting eight points out of the maximum nine while Ellen Mpinganjira triumphed in the ladies category.
Bwalya received gold medal, trophy, modern flash drive and K500,000 cash- courtesy of the two sister companies Divine Planet and Africa Global Travel & Tours, which are owned by families of Mayeso Mphande and Francis Muleso.
Mpinganjira got K200,000 cash, a trophy, gold medal and state-of-the art flash drive.
Candidate Master Godwin Phiri, also from Zambia grabbed the K200,000 second prize in the Open Section with 7.5 points while South African based Malawian chess genius Joseph Mwale settled for third position after amassing seven points.
Malawi’s highest titled player Gerald ‘General’ Mphungu finished fourth after being piped by Mwale in the Bucholoz tie breaking system.
Alfred Chimthere was fifth followed by Geoffrey Lwanja from Zambia in the top six positions.
Mpinganjira was trailed by Misindo Farnela Nuzela Zacharias from Mozambique in the ladies’ section with Tupokiwe Msukwa and Daisy Nkhoma both from Malawi completing the top four positions respectively.
Chess Association of Malawi president Kezzie Msukwa, who was also the Chief Arbiter hailed Divine Planet and Africa Global Travel and Tours for setting a new pace in chess sponsorship.