Malawi’s top chess player Joseph Mwale engaging with juniors through online tournaments

Malawi’s number 1 chess player, Joseph Mwale is helping juniors to profit from the idle time they have through the stay at home Coronavirus (COVID-19) preventive adherence by engaging them through online chess tournaments.

A screenshot of the game in progress between Mwale and Tupochele
Mwase, Malawi’s top chess player based in South Africa

The South Africa-based chess genius started the tournaments some three weeks ago after the lockdown that was imposed in his host country and he impressed on some of the players he coaches to take a shot at the online tournament.

So far he has over 20 participants, mostly students he privately coaches online via skype zoom and other apps in South Africa as well as from Malawi. He also invited some guest appearances.

“I host the tournaments through Lichess App, which is currently the best platform for playing chess,” Mwale said.

“The juniors that are interested can whatsapp me through my SA number +276 1086 5650 or email me  [email protected] to book their appointments — either through groups or one-on-one.

“This is one of my many projects to come I plan for Malawi as I am in great talks [with some potential sponsors] to start the first ever big academy in Malawi.”

Mwale, who became a chess star in Malawi at a tender age of 8, said the juniors he is interacting with so far are very good and in the group he also has Malawi national junior team players as well as Under-16 team players for South Africa.

“The games they play on lichess app is also used for rating. It rates them according to strength and they can also do training tactics and puzzles which motivates kids to keep challenging each other.

“So far Gabriel Amrouni from SA won the first two events, Priyasha Shriyaan from Malawi won the 3rd and Thatego Lefyedi, an Under-16 SA team player, won the last event.”

In Sunday’s rounds of games for the 5th tournament were won by a female from Durban, Aphiwe Zikalala with a record 58 points while Malawian Dakshesh was 3rd with 34 points.

“Four days ago [from Sunday] we had a Malawian show taking the top six positions won by Priyasha Shriyan (14 points), Dakshesh 2nd, his sister Lakshita 3rd and Dave Montora 4th followed by brothers Aditya and Ashesh.

“Other wildcard players invited are Daisy Nkhoma, Oprah Phiri, Anne Simwaba, Tinnah Kumwenda, Tupochele Mlanjira, Alain Namangale and Praise Salima.

As of his performance himself, Mwase said he was supposed to play Zone Games in Lesotho as well as the All Africa Games in Nigeria and the Olympiad in Russia but all were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But I am using the lockdown here as a training camp working on my chess everyday and surely, after the lockdown, I will be in great shape and ready to challenge higher titles,” Mwase said.

Meanwhile, Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) has also introduced an online tournament, Chessam Blitz Challenge in a bid to keep its members active during this COVID-19 stay at home campaign.

Chessam publicity secretary Alfred Chinthere said the tournament will be sponsored by Mybucks Bank to be held monthly starting from April 26.

It will be played in three sections — Open, Ladies (both at K1000 entry fee and Juniors at K500.

Prizes for Open and Ladies sections are K25,000 for the winner, K20,000 runner-up, K15,000 for third place and K10,000 for the 4th and there will also be consolation prizes of K5,000 each for positions 5-10.

The prizes for Juniors for first to 4th are K15,000, K10,000, K7,500 and K5,000 respectively.

Interested players can register through Airtel Money mobile number +265 O996 668 081.

“The tournaments are scheduled for 18:00hrs–20:00hrs for the Open section and the Ladies and Juniors section will be from 18:00hrs– 19:00hrs on specified dates,” says Chinthere.

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