Richard Chiona and Daisy Nkhoma are in Livingstone, Zambia for the Africa Individual Chess Championship which starts Saturday, May 12 to May 24 to expose them to higher chess level ahead of the 2018 World Chess Olympiad which the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia will host in September.
Chiona will participate in the Open section while Nkhoma is in the Ladies category.
According to reports four-time time African champion, Grandmaster Amin Baseem of Egypt — rated 2667 — is expected to cause a stir in the Open section, while Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda of Egypt is likely to torture the ladies category.
Shahenda is the only Woman Grandmaster but there are five Grandmasters — four from Egypt and one from Algeria.
The Open section has 10 International Masters, five Fide Masters and four Candidate Masters while the ladies second has 10 Women international Masters, two Women F8de Masters and two Women Candidate Masters.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicity secretary Makhosi Nyirenda said there was a need for the two to get more exposure thus Chessam found it prudent to sponsor the athletes ahead of the Olympiad.
Four other players are expected to join Chiona and Nkhoma for Batumi after qualifying during national qualifiers that took place in Lilongwe from December 29 toJanuary 2.
A total of 34 participants were in that national qualifiers that identified six players — three male and three women.
Candidate Master Chiletso Chipanga was the champion after he amassed 7.5 points out of 9 with South Africa-based Joseph Mwale finishing second with 7 points while his elder brother George finished third with 6.5 points.
Combative Richard Chiona was 4th with 6 points and he was put on bye.
In the ladies category, Daisy Nkhoma came first with eight points followed by Tupokiwe Msukwa with 6.5 points while Magret Ngugama was third with 6.5 points.
Ellen Mpinganjira is on bye as she was 4th with 6 points.
The last Olympiad in 2016 took place in Baku, Azerbaijan and Malawi was ably represented there as well through FIDE Master Gerald Mphungu and Candidate Masters Petros Mfune, Chiletso Chipanga, Alfred Chimthere and Paul Khuphwathea in Open Section while the ladies were Linda Jambo, Ellen Mpinganjira, Vitumbiko Gondwe, Daisy Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa.
Mphungu has twice represented Malawi at the Olympiad Chipanga five times, Joseph Mwale once while this will be George Mwale’s first experience.
For the ladies, Linda Jambo has participated four times, Daisy Nkhoma twice and once each for Tupokiwe Msukwa and Magret Ngugama.
During a world chess governing body FIDE Congress held in Zimbabwe last August, Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa had a meeting with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who pledged that he shall sponsor an international Grand Master of repute to come and train Malawi’s Olympiad team sometime early this year for one month.
However, Makhosi earlier said the grandmaster training programme has not been confirmed yet but as Chessam they shall hold a series of training camps ahead of the Olympiad in September.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :