Team Malawi chess started off the All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco on Saturday by winning two, drawing one and losing two in the first round of five Rapid Round matches.
They first lost two consecutive matches 1-3 to Nigeria in which the two FIDE Masters, Joseph Mwale and Gerald Mphungu drew and both ladies, Desderata Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa lost.
They went on to lose again 1-3 to Ethiopia in which only FM Mphungu won and the rest lost and claimed 3.5-0.5 against Mauritius in which FM Mwale drew and the rest won.
In round four, Malawi won 3-1 against Sao Tome in which Desderata lost and the rest won while in the final matches they drew 2-2 against Kenya.
“Against Kenya, both men won and the ladies lost,” said team leader Leonard Sharra. “Had Desderata won or drew, we could have won against Kenya.
“She had a winning position against her Kenyan opponent but failed to manage her time and due to time pressure she missed a winning move and eventually lost on time.
“We are playing four rounds today (Sunday) to make it a total of 9 rounds. That will be the end of the rapid tournament, which are of 15 minutes per player and on 26th (Monday), we will go into Individual Rapid phase, where a total of nine games will also be played over two games.
“After that it will be Individual Blitz on the 28th of 5 minutes each player and this will be the last day,” Sharra said.
Meanwhile, Egypt dominated the first day by going away with five victories in their five matches, conceding only 4 draws in the total 20 games they played today with no losses.
According to www.fide.com, the Egyptians — who are a powerhouse of chess in Africa, fileded two world-class Grandmasters like Bassem Aminand Ahmed Adly and two Women Grandmasters (WGMs) Shrook andShahenda Wafa.
At the 12th edition of the Games, Egypt are the top-seeded team, with a gap of 150 rating points over the second, the hosts Morocco.
They justified their favourites’ status by beating Ethiopia (4-0), Angola (3½-½), Algeria (3½-½), Morocco (3½-½) and Tunisia (3½-½).
“Having defeated their two main competitors, Morocco and Algeria, the Egyptian team seems to have the triumph in their own hands, and only a collapse in the second day of play could make them miss the gold medal,” says the FIDE website.
After the first round of matches, Egypt were first with 10 points, Algeria 2nd with 8 points, Zimbabwe third (7), Tunisia 4th (7), Botswana 5th (6), Angola 6th (6), Nigeria 7th (6), Malawi 8th (6), hosts Morocco 9the (5) and Ethiopia 0th (5).
Other participating countries are Cameroon, Zambia, São Tomé e Principe, Mali, Namibia, Mauritius, Central African Republic, Kenya, Eritrea and Cape Verde.
The opening matches were witnessed by FIDE vice-president Adeyemi Olalekan, African Chess Confederation President Lewis Ncube, Arab Chess Federation president Sheikh Saoud Al Moala among other dignitaries.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :