The top Nigerian International Master (IM) Adu Oladapo, who is interested to participate in this year’s Mdina Malawi Open Chess Championship scheduled to be played from June 14 to 18 in Blantyre, has taken Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) by surprise by demanding an appearance fee.
In a communication with Chessam publicist Makhosi Nyirenda, Oladapo says: “I’ve perused through the Invitatation, it looks good [and I] will make it if given $500 appearance fee…”also take care of my accomodation and meals for my stay. I will also be willing to hold a simultaneous exhibition after the event.”
Makhosi said he told the Nigerian IM that the Mdina Malawi Open budget doesn’t include appearance fee, however, he relayed the request to the organisers and sponsor, South Africa-based Tiwone Mdina.
“We cannot afford such a luxury,” Makhosi told Nyasa Times. “But we will file his request and may consider him next time. It’s in our interest to to expose our players to stiff opposition.
“Appearance fees are common at top level chess where professional chess players usually make it plain that they can only play in a particular tournament if given a particular fee.
“We cannot afford such a luxury,” Makhosi told Nyasatimes. “But we will file his request and may consider him next time. It’s in our interest to to expose our players to stiff opposition.
“Appearance fees are common at top level chess where professional chess players usually make it plain that they can only play in a particular tournament if given a particular fee.”
In its 9th edition, the Mdina Malawi Open was launched in 2010 as a local tournament before turning international in 2016. Ever since no player defended the title and none won it twice.
First local champion was Kajani Kaunda, Edgar Khan did it in 2011, Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga in 2012, Fide Master Gerald Mphungu in 2013, Peter Jailosi in 2014 and (CM) Petros Mfune as the last Malawian in 2015.
When it turned international, Zambia CM Godwin Phiri won it and the feat was achieved by annother Zambian, International Master Chitumbo Mwali.
Makhosi said ever since, 10 Zambians have participated but none have claimed appearance fees
“Our sponsor Mdina has always met their accomodation and food costs at his free will but not appearance fee,” Makhosi said.
Oladapo, who was among the top Africans who qualified for Millionaire chess tournament in the United States of America last year, learnt about the Mdina Malawi Open on africachessmedia.com where tournament sponsor Tiwone Mdina made it as the 11th Wonder of African Chess.
Makhosi said other serious interests are from Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
According to Wikipedia, Oladapo qualified to play in the 31st Chess Olympiad in Moscow and became the Nigerian national champion in 1995 and and he also qualified for the 32nd Chess Olympiad but Nigeria withdrew due to lack of funding.
He has since played in further Olympiads for Nigeria, including the 33rd Chess Olympiad. In 2015, Oladapo qualified for the Chess World Cup but was knocked out in the first round by Russian Veselin Topalov.
Mdina is the 11th Wonder for being the first African sponsor to flight a chess billboard in an African city advertising the forthcoming Malawi Open.
Under the theme “Amazing African Chess Achievements”, africachessmedi
a.com reports: “Tiwone 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 Engineerinng and Mdina Chess, Les Meilleurs…a gift to Malawi’s Chess’ easily readable on the imposing billboard, the artwork is 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 is another Malawian, Joseph 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 now 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,” cites the website.
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.