Malawi awarded another international chess arbiter by world governing body

Mzuzu-based chess arbiter Isaac Mumba has been awarded the title of Fide Arbiter by the world chess federation (Fide) that will enable him officiate international events abroad.

Mumba: I feel highly honoured

This brings the number of local titled arbiters to four. The others are International Arbiters Gilton Mkumbwa and Kezzie Msukwa, who is the outgoing Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president and another Fide Arbiter, Paul Nyirenda.

International arbiter is the highest level of arbiters followed by Fide Arbiters.

Chessam publicity secretary Makhosi Nyirenda explained that for one to become a Fide arbiter they take an examination and if they get a distinction, they get a straight Fide arbiter title.

“If they get less then that, they are awarded a national arbiter title and a Fide a rbiter norm. One has to accumulate three other such norms by arbitrating in national events and one international event to be a full arbiter,” Makhosi said.

“Like in this case, Mumba was given a national arbiter title following the exam he wrote with Magret Ngugama, Peter Jailosi, Leonard M’bwana, myself, Martin Mhango, Kennedy Gondwe who were all given the same badge.”

Makhosi said for one to become an international arbiter they need to officiate three more international events to the satisfaction of the Fide board.

Mumba said: “I feel highly honoured because by officiating international tournaments this will uplift my standard and also the standard of chess games in Malawi.”

He said he have been playing chess since 2005 as a  player and in 2009 he was elected as vice chairperson for Northern Region Chess league before assuming the chairmanship mantle in 2012 up to 2016.

“In 2015 I wrote exams as an arbiter at Shire  Highlands Hotel and passed as a national arbiter in which I could only officiate local tournaments.

“Now after officiating the Africa Amateurs tournament in Zambia this year where Chiletso won the gold medal, I have been accorded the Fide Arbiter title which means I can now officiate world cup tournaments.”

Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa applauded Mumba for his achievement and urged other arbiters to emulate his example in bringing Malawi chess on the world map.

Titles for players are Grandmaster (GM), International Master (IM), Fide Master (FM) and Candidate Master (CM) in that order.

There are on two Malawian who hold the FM title, Gerald Mphungu and woman FM Linda Jambo.

The rest are CMs — Joseph Mwale, Alfred Chimthere, Paul Khuphwathea, Joseph Nyambalo, Richard Mbedza, Petros  Mfune, Joseph Chalemba (inactive), Malama Mwanza (inactive) and reigning African Amateurs champion Chiletso Chipanga.

To attain titles players have to go through some procedures such as (1) having the Fide rating to reach 2300, (2) score 75 percent at the equivalent of Chess Olympiad tournament held in Baku, Kazakhstan,  (3) score 75 percent at an event like world amateurs which Chiletso participated in and (4) score above a given target in a Master norm event.

For International Master, one’s rating must reach 2400 or score 90 percent  at an Olympiad or score above a given target in a master norm event and for Grandmaster one must win a continental Championship like Africa Individual or collect three International Master norms in three different tournaments where there are grandmasters and one has to beat a number of them.

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