Mdina Malawi Chess Open winner to receive cool MK1 mln 

To celebrate the 10th edition of the Mdina Malawi Open chess championship next year, the winner in the Open Section shall go home with a cool MK1 million as the sponsor Tione Mdina promises a bigger and better tournament.

Mwale, this year’s champion and first Malawian to win it since it turned international in 2016

This was disclosed at the prize presentation ceremony at the end of the 9th edition in which Malawian Joseph Mwale carried the flag high ahead of compatriots and players from Mozambique and Zambia.

Mwale becomes the first Malawian to lift the trophy since it turned international in 2016. In that year Zambia Candidate Master (CM) Godwin Phiri won it and the following year the feat was achieved by another Zambian, International Master (IM) Chitumbo Mwali.

The tournament was introduced in 2009 for local players only and the sponsor decided to make it international to expose the Malawian players further and it has reaped its fruits.

Representing the sponsor, Jeka Chipofya said Mdina is very grateful of the way the tournament has been handled all these years and thus decided to make it bigger and better in order to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.

“There shall be lots of surprises for the 10th edition next year but I can comfortably say here that the winner shall walk home with  cool MK1 million,” Chipofya said, attracting a huge round of applause from the player.

The winner Joseph Mwale, with 8.5 points from nine rounds of games, received MK250,000, a quarter of next year’s winner, while the runner-up was Mozambican top seed Calicio Wilton, who scored 7 points and received MK150,000.

One proud product of the Mdina Open, national and African Amateur champion, CM Chiletso Chipanga, who won it in 2012 when it was for local players, came third with 5.5 points to receive MK100,000

Chipanga tied on points with Mozambican Gafar Izdine and veteran compatriot Kajani Kaunda but were separated after a tie break.

In the ladies category, Mozambican Sheila Sitoi with was the champion with 7.5 points followed by Constance Mbatha from Zambia while Malawi Desiderata Nkhoma was third, tying on 6.5 with Mbatha and Mozambican Pamela Mizera but separated bu Bulchoz tie breaker system.

Section B, for players of rating 1800 and below which attracted students from various Colleges like MUST, Poly, Chanco, KCN as well as veterans was won by veteran Stanley Mpinganjira with 8.5 points followed by another veteran Stanley Kafere with 8 points. John Mkumbwa was third with 7 points.

Prizes were given to the top 10 in all sections while Mdina gave out special prizes to recognise eight individuals who had made a mark in the Mdina Open and these were Susan Namangale (this year’s edition’s chairperson of the organising committee), Alfred Chinthere, Makhosi Nyirenda (Chess Association of Malawi piblicity secretary), Eddie Kulesi, Daisy Nkhoma, Mark Ndipita, Gilton Mkumbwa (Fide arbiter) and Ben Mantombera.

Outgoing Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa  applauded the sponsor for being with chess for all the years that has produced an African Amateur champion in Chiletso Chipanga.

Chiletso was crowned African Amateurs champion in Zambia in February and he qualified for World Amateurs that were held in Cagliari, Italy where he finished an impressive 6th position out of 49 participants.

Out of nine rounds played at the World Amateurs, Chipanga won six and lost three to garner six points, just one point behind eventual winner, Singh Arvider Preet of India, who had 7 points tieing with Galavato Miguel Angel of Colombia, who came second.

But his form dipped on his return in which local players managed to outwit the Candidate Master.

As a warm up to the Mdina Open, he came third in the day-long Masterplate Chess tournament that  took place at Country Club Limbe in Blantyre and in the following tournament he came third in the Sempha Investment tournament that took place at Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe in which he scored 5.5 points from a possible seven.

The 2018 Mdina Open champion Joseph Mwale warmed up for the championship by winning the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) sponsored Lisiti Langa Chess tournament in Lilongwe with 6.5 points out of 7.

Mdina Open’s first local champion was Kajani Kaunda, Edgar Khan did it in 2011, Chipanga in 2012, Fide Master Gerald Mphungu in 2013, Peter Jailosi in 2014 and CM Petros Mfune as the last Malawian in 2015.

This year’s edition attracted the attention of All Africa Chess Federation who awarded sponsor Mdina with the honour of the 11th  Wonder of African Chess for being the first African sponsor to flight a chess billboard in an African city advertising the Malawi Open.

Under the theme “Amazing African Chess Achievements”, africachessmedia.com reported: “Tione Mdina and Mdina Engineering Company  went down in history to be the first African chess sponsor to flight a chess billboard in an African city for close to six months.

“With the words ‘Mdina Engineering and Mdina Chess, Les Meilleurs…a gift to Malawi’s Chess’ easily readable on the imposing billboard, the artwork was being rotated in different strategic places in Blantyre, the commercial city of Malawi in readiness for the 2018 Mdina Malawi Open.”

Mdina is based in South Africa where his firm is quite established in which among other things, trades in road construction.

Also recognised by All Africa Chess was Mwale, who is the 8th Wonder for being the youngest ever chess champion of an African country in 2007 at the age of 13.

According to africachessmedia.com, the other player closest to breaking this record was Namibian champion Dante Beukes, who became Namibian champion at age 14.

Popularly known as ‘The Fear’, Mwale lives and works as a chess coach in Durban, South Africa from where he also travels to various tournaments, and has won numerous events to his credit.

The first wonder is Grandmaster (GM) Amin Baseem from Egypt, the first African to cross the 2700 rating barrier in 2017. The second is another Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly, Zimbabwean Robert Gwaze, Olympian Board 1 Gold Medalist is third; Woman Grandmaster Mona Khaled from Egypt 4th; Zambian GM Amon Simutowe 5th.

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Magnus Kasparov
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Magnus Kasparov

Well written and well researched piece. Well done Duncan Mlanjira

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