When Chipanga Chiletso started off for Livingstone, Zambia last week for the African Amateur Chess tournament nobody expected him to to go on and win it and he did in style by winning with one round to spare.
His stunning performance so much impressed the chess fraternity that Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) executive member, Susan Namangale, in partnership with CBR Tours and Travel decided to sponsor the maestro that he flies back instead of travelling by road as he did when he went there.
Namangale and CBR Tours and Travel Managing Director Lisungu Chirwa felt duty bound to honour the star of the moment, saying he has put Malawi on the map and deserved to be given a heroes welcome.
According to reports from Livingstone, the participants and organisers of the tournament were so impressed of his performance they thought he was a grandmaster. Now he is heading there if he continues with his fine form.
Chessam and its stakeholders owe us a pat on the back for what they are doing to the sport right from grassroots level. They are grooming a grandmaster.
Chiletso has booked himself a ticket to the World Amateurs in Italy and if he will do well there his status will definitely changed.
In chess, the players fight for titles and the prestigious one is the grandmaster. The world’s revered chess player ever lived is Russian Garry Kimovich Kasparov. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months. His peak rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the highest recorded until being surpassed by Magnus Carlsen in 2013.
Kasparov also holds records for consecutive professional tournament victories (15) and 11 chess Oscars.
After the grandmaster title is International Master followed by Fide Master and finally Candidate Master. In Malawi we only have one Fide Master in Gerald Mphungu for men and Linda Jambo.
There are nine Candidate Masters — Joseph Chalemba, Malama Mwanza, Alfred Chimthere, Chiletso Chipanga, Richard Mbedza, Razorblade, Paul Khuphwathea, Joseph Mwale and Joseph Nyambalo.
What awaits Chiletso is the Candidate Master status and he can attain in if he shall do well in Italy.
What Chiletso has given Malawi is a prestigious status and will definitely inspire others to study the game so hard and raise the Malawi flag higher. So I urge Chessam and its stakeholders to raise the bar of sponsorship so that there is ample opportunity for exposure.
Well done, Chiletso. Well done Chessam. Keep the fire burning