Malawi Chess acquires electronic chessboard 

Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) on Saturday unveiled a maiden electronic chessboard worth about MK250,000 which can capture live a game in progress and broadcast it to viewers within or outside the tournament hall after being connected to a big screen or a projector.

Namangale (R) and members of her Chessam crew present the board

According to Chess Association of Malawi publicity secretary Alfred Chinthere, the electronic chessboard can also be used to transmit live to the outside world via online chess websites.

“It allows recording of chess games, playing, training, analysing and studying the games of chess since it is compatible with leading computer chess playing software,” Chinthere said.

The board was launched by Chessam president Susan Namangale at a colourful ceremony held on Saturday night at her residential apartment in Area 47, Lilongwe and present was newly-appointed special advisor for Chessam on information communication and technology (ICT) affairs, Ernest Matola, who is himself an ardent chess player and an ICT specialist working with Baobab Health.

Others were Chessam treasurer general Vitumbiko Ndovie and Candidate Masters, Petros Mfune and Alfred Chimthere.

Namangale said this first electronic chessboard, which is the quality type that is used at world events especially in Europe, is a good development to Malawi chess and pledged to procure more in the future and she  urged the corporate world and other stakeholders to be of the initiative.

She also announced that two computer laptops have also been purchased to support the digitisation process.

Chinthere said the new chessboard, which was purchased when Malawi team participated at the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, in October this year, is earmarked to be on show as a top board at the upcoming national tournament scheduled for December 21-23 in Lilongwe.

He said the electronic chessboard shall be used for Board number 1 which they will be using the Swiss pairing system for making pairings/fixtures.

“Swiss pairing entails that winners play winners and losers play losers in a tournament. So top board or board number 1 means it is the one that is chasing for the prize — the prospective champion for tournament.”

Chinthere said at the same Chess Olympiad, Chessam procured adequate standard chess clocks to ensure that a clock is available for every chessboard during tournaments.

“The process of setting up a Chessam secretariat at the turn of the year is also in the offing,” Chinthere said.

The December 21-23 national tournament has been organized after Chessam was forced to cancel the Under-16 Zone 4.3 Games which it was supposed to host for the SADC region’s international tournament from December 15-23.

The tournament was cancelled in consultation with the African Chess Confederation (ACC) board because there is no funding for Zonal activities from FIDE (World Chess Federation) via ACC as was promised earlier when the right to host was  granted. Hosting of a tournament comes with a subsidy fund to assist member federation host the tournament.

The national tournament at a venue to be announced soon and will have five categories as follows: Open section of 1800 elo rating and above; Section B of below 1800 elo rating; Ladies section; Under-18 (boys & girls sections) and Under-14 also for both boys and girls sections.

“Also at the prize presentation ceremony of the national tournament, Chessam will award various individuals including Best Player, Most improved Player, Best Lady, Best Junior Player (Boy & Girl), the newly attained International Titles from the 2018 Chess Olympiad and Best Journalist,” the statement said.

In another development, Chessam is sending five junior chess players to Limpopo, SouthAfrica to participate in the Africa Schools Individual tournament scheduled for December 5-14.

“Some players will also be considered to compete at the Africa Amateur tournament from December 30 to January 7 in Namibia,” Chinthere said.

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