Malawi men’s team up against all Grandmaster Brazilian opponents at the World Chess Olympiad

Games have started today, September 24 for the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia and Malawi team are up against all Grandmaster Brazilian opponents in the men’s Open Section.

Chipanga: Team Malawi

Games started at 13:00 hours Malawian time with GM Alexander Fier v Fide Master (FM) Gerrard Mphungu, GM Luis Paulo Supi v George Mwale, GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian v Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga and GM Felipe de Cresce el Debs v Richard Chiona.

The women’s opponents from Luxembourg have one Grandmaster (WIM) Elvira Berend, two International Master (WIM) Liana Aghabekiam, Fiona Steil-Antoni, one Fidemaster (Wfm) Grayna Bakalarz and WCM Hanten Elsa.

Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicity secretary Alfred Chinthere said one of Malawi’s strongest player CM Joseph Mwale is on the bench because he arrived late as he had to fly out from his base in South Africa to connect with the rest of the squad in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital city.

Chinthere said a Grandmaster is the highest title one can attain in the game of chess and is basically achieved over a period of time almost 10 years, through consistent wins in top tournaments, via rigorious study of chess literature/books in academies or using accreditated chess trainers/chess computer engines.

“Africa has about 10 Grandmasters. Sub-Saharan Africa has ever produced two GMs in the names Amon Simutowe of Zambia (who stays in USA) and Ken Solomon of South Africa (based in Italy).

“Worldwide, the GMs are over 1,500 with Europe producing the most. So basically today’s match between Malawi and Brazil is a ‘David v Goliath’,” Chinthere said.

The Malawi team departed in a buoyant mood after undergoing a specialised training camp in Blantyre mentored by Russian GM Vasily Papin who drilled the squad for two weeks in August.

During the training camp, the Russian Grandmaster Vasily Papin played an exhibition simultaneous matches against 23 players in which he  beat 21 and drew with three; CM Chipanga, George Mwale and Daisy Nkhoma.

CM Chipanga, who is the 2018 African Amateurs Champion and is also the inspirational for the squad, is the Malawian record holder of having been to six consecutive chess Olympiads since 2008; the World’s most prestigious chess event on the FIDE (World Chess Federation) calendar.

The last Olympiad in 2016 that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan and Malawi was ably represented there as well through FM Mphungu, CM Petros Mfune, CM Chipanga, Alfred Chimthere and Paul Khuphwathea in Open Section while the ladies were Linda Jambo,  Ellen Mpinganjira, Vitumbiko Gondwe, Daisy Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa.

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