Malawi’s top chess player, Joseph Mwale says he is very proud that the juniors that he coaches and plays with on online displayed excellent performance during their participation of Chess Association of Malawi’s first-ever online Britz tournament that was sponsored by MyBucks Bank.
All top three in the ladies category — champion Tina Kumwenda (43 points); runner-up Anne George (38) and third placed Priyasha Shriyan (20) — are part of the players that the South Africa-based Fide Master engages online.
The junior section, that was won by Blessings Kamanga with 28 points, had two of Mwale’s charges — runner-up Dakshesh Dutt (25 points) and third-placed Tupochele Mlanjira (17 points).
Mwale, who won the MyBucks Chessam Britz Challenge with 59 points, believes the players he constantly engages with did well because of the constant online tournaments that he has been organizing for them
since South Africa went on lockdown following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“These players are always free to play against me any time they feel so since I am usually free because of the lockdown here,” he said.
“After each game, I coach them on their shortfalls and how they can improve. I have seen so much improvement in them in several games I have played against each one of them as well as those against each other.
“I am so proud of their performance and going forward, I will continue to engage them,” said the Fire Master, who said his toughest opponent in the MyBucks Britz was Leonard Mbwana.
His runner-up in the Open Section, that attracted 51 players where 389 games were played, was Hubert Nanthambwe (49 points) with Mangochi-based Precious Kamwendo (47) on third and Candidate Master Petros Mfune on 4th with 40.
The junior champion Kamanga, represented Malawi at the Africa Schools Chess Championship in 2018 in Limpopo, South Africa while Mwale won the National Championship in 2007 at the age of 13 while at Kabwabwa Primary School.
According to Chessam publicist, Chimthere Alfred it is a record that still stands as one of the best on the African continent.
Mwale, who is the current highest rated player for Malawi, has represented Malawi both at continental and world level and is in South Africa, earning a living through chess.
He was set to represent Malawi at the Zone 4.5 in Lesotho and World Chess Olympiad in Russia in August but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, third placed Priyasha Shriyan donated her K15,000 prize money back to Chessam while her parents also donated K50,000 for the association to hold a ladies tournament and Chinthere says it will be held probably in two weeks time.
Chessam president Susan Namangale applauded MyBucks Bank for the support given to have the first online tournament.
“We are looking forward to a brighter partnership as we help push the bank’s brand,” she said. “It’s been tough for us because of the COVID-19 pandemic but we decided to move ahead through this innovation of an online chess tournaments to make our chess players active.”
She asked the chess fraternity and the nation as a whole, to take heed of COVID-19 preventive measures, saying “this pandemic is real — stay at home to keep safe and continue playing chess”.
She disclosed that Chessam is discussing with Malawi National Council of Sports to consider releasing the funding for the Presidential Initiative on Sports to organise an online tournament targetting the youths.
She also said using the same resources, they intend to hold online trainings for the youths from their homes since they are on forced holidays from school where they train in chess.
MyBucks Bank’s marketing manager, Linda Simwaka applauded Chessam for being strategically creative in these COVID-19 times by thinking of organizing an online tournament instead of waiting for the pandemic to clear.
“As a sponsor, we are very happy and excited to be associated with the game of chess,” she said. “This is the beginning, I believe, of a very good partnership and we will be able to support wherever we can as your sponsor.”
The arbiter Gilton Mkumba announced that the Blitz tournament attracted 83 players — 51 in the Open Section, 14 in Ladies’ and 18 in Juniors’.
Casualties in the Ladies Section included Woman Fide Master (WFM) Linda Chaononga and Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Ellen Mpinganjira with highly rated Daisy Nkhoma finishing a distant 7th place.
Chinthere said the next online chess tournament will be played next month.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :