Namangale defeats newly-crowned Woman Fidemaster Mpinganjira: Wins first tourney in over 10 years

Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale proved old age should not to be underrated in this sport by beating newly-crowned Woman Fide Master (WFM) Ellen Mpinganjira and went on to win the Don’s Ladies tournament played on Saturday at Country Club, Limbe.

Namangale (right) solving up a move

The tournament was sponsored by former Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) general secretary Wasoka ‘The Don’ Chirwa to spice up the league’s elections that took place after the competition.

Namangale said she has not played competitive chess for over 10 years as she concentrated in the sport’s administration as chairperson for SRCL, which she relinquished after being voted as Chessam president in August this year and decided to do so this time around to inspire ladies to take the sport seriously.

“I didn’t come to play with winning the tournament in mind but as a solidarity for the ladies because by inspiring them they will win more confidence in themselves and inspire others to take up the sport.

“As you can see, most of the ladies are very young, some in college others in secondary schools. When they go back they might boast there that they played against the likes of me and WFM Ellen. Winning or drawing against either of us can boost their morale,” Namangale said.

Mpinganjira, who is also in the Chessam board as an executive member, was crowned WFM after her impressive performance at the World Chess Olympiad that took place in the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia this month becoming Malawi’s second WFM after Linda Jambo-Chaononga.

Out of 8 games played, she won four. The title is attained after winning at least 66.66% (two thirds) of one’s game in any world chess governing body, Fide’s rated tournament.

For The Don’s Ladies tournament, Mpinganjira came second with Tupokiwe Msukwa as third-placed. Tupokiwe is daughter to former Chessam president Kenzie Msukwa, now the general secretary for Africa Chess Confederation, and she is one of the country’s top rated players but she missed the Batumi Olympiad due to academic commitments at Chancellor College where she is a student.

To make the ladies take the game seriously, The Don’s tournament offered prizes up to 5th place. On position 4 was Lucy Chazemba while Faith Gondwe was 5th. The winner received K40,000, runner-up K25,000, 3rd place K20,000, 4th K10,000 and 5th K5,000.

Namangale forfeited her cash prize by giving up her it back to SRCL to be used for the next ladies’ tournament, which Wasoka said would be held in December. She also offered shopping vouchers for all the top five winners on top of their cash prizes.

The men’s also had a separate tournament which was won by Chessam publicity secretary Candidate Master Alfred Chinthere with Peter Jailosi coming second and Precious Kamwendo on third.

Meanwhile, Steve Mpighu was elected chairperson unopposed with Peter Jailosi becoming the deputy also unopposed.

The general secretary is Gift Howahowa, who beat John Mkumba and Wasoka while unopposed as treasurer is Gomezgani Banda.

Journalist Solomon Manda is the publicity secretary unopposed while regional schools coordinator is Polytechnic lecturer McMillan Gondwe. Committee members are Emmanuel Hamilton, Tryness Chirwa, Overton Kanyinji and Ndawonga Mwale.

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