The K1 million White Elephant Central Region Chess League was officially launched on Saturday with government saluting the Likuni based company for embracing one of the minority sporting disciplines in the country.
Guest of honour at the launching ceremony Deputy Director of Sports Justice Msopera, who stood on behalf of Youth and Sports Minister Grace Chiumia said it was pleasing to see some companies going for minority sports other than the traditional disciplines of football and netball.
“It is the wish of government to see all sporting disciplines receiving support from well-wishers because not everybody loves football or netball. That is the reason government allocates resources from the national budget to all sporting disciplines through Sports Council.
“As a Ministry responsible for sports development, we appreciate what White Elephant Group of Companies has done in sponsoring the game of chess when many other companies are focusing on football and netball,” said Msopera.
Managing director for White Elephant Orison Chaponda said the company chose to sponsor chess because it was focusing on the future they way chess players do.
“We want to promote the game of chess for a good reason. Chess requires advance thinking and one can think six moves ahead. As a company we are looking 15 years ahead and not far from now White Elephant will be listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange.
“There are a number of things that we are going to bring on the table for central region chess. We want to see youth development and as I speak now, we have paid for a passport for a young genius chess player Blessings Patambala, whom we are sponsoring to participate at the Africa Junior Chess Championship in South Africa.
“We are also paying a fee of 20 Euros to the International Chess Federation (Fide) for Mr Leonard Mbwana, who has just qualified as a Fide arbiter and we would like to sponsor top ten players from the White Elephant to regional competitions in neighbouring countries like Zambia,” said Chaponda attracting applause from chess players, who gathered at the White Elephant conference hall for the launch.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) honorary vice president Ackim Mwale, who spoke on behalf of both the league and the association applauded White Elephant for bringing a new lease of life into the game of chess in central region.
He urged the CRCL executive and players to jealously guard the sponsorship to encourage the sponsors do more.
As part of the sponsorship launch, White Elephant sponsored a Rapid Chess tournament to the tune of K100,000. Area 25 based Dan Maliro won the tournament to pocket the top cash prize of K30,000.
The league will be competed for by chess clubs from the region and games will be played at the White Elephant Café in Likuni and Anamwino House in Area 13, where White Elephant is operating another restaurant.