Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam), has managed to secure the services of a top Russian Grandmaster Papin Vasily to come and train the Malawi team that shall represent the country at the Chess Olympiad to be held in the Eastern European city of Batumi in Georgia from September 23 to October 6.
According to Chessam publicity secretary Makhosi Nyirenda, the top Grandmaster is expected to land at Lilongwe International Airport on Monday August 6.
During a world chess governing body FIDE Congress held in Zimbabwe in August last year, Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa had a meeting with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who pledged that he shall sponsor an international Grandmaster of repute to come and train Malawi’s Olympiad team early this year for one month.
However, Makhosi Nyirenda said due to some logistics, the trainer could only be available now.
Makhosi added that following good perfomance during their last Olympiad in 2016, Malawi team soared two steps up the Fide rankings that has seen Petros ‘Razorblade’ Mfune and Paul Khuphwathea elevated to Candidate Master (CM) status after scoring 50% of their games.
The Batumi team comprises CM Chiletso Chipanga, CM Joseph Mwale, Fide Master (FM) Gerald Mphungu, George Mwale, Richard Chiona for the Open Section while the ladies are WFM Linda Jambo, Daisy Nkhoma, Tupokiwe Msukwa, Ellen Mpinganjira and Anne Simwawa.
Their captains are Joseph Chalemba for Open Section and Magret Ngugama for the ladies and the head of delegation is Gershom Chima with Mark Chikoko as assembly delegate.
According to Wikipedia, Papin was awarded the Grandmaster title in February 2011 for his results in the 7th N.K. Aratovsky Memorial 2007 Open in Saratov, and the 2009 and 2010 M. Chigorin Memorial tournaments in Saint Petersburg.
During 2011, Papin jointly won the 6th Dvorkovich Memorial Open in Taganrogand, finished equal second in The 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen and won the 2012 Moscow Open F Tournament for students.
He also won the 2013 New Caledonia International Open in Nouméa and finished equal first in the 2013 Australasian Masters GM tournament in Melbourne.
He also finished equal first in the 2014 “Taça Cuca SA” International Open in Luanda. His highest ever FIDE rating was 2583 in September 2011.
The Malawi team representatives were identified through regional and grand national qualifiers that took place in December.
CM Chiletso Chipanga was the champion of the national qualifiers, South Africa-based Joseph Mwale finished second with 7 points, his elder brother George finished third, Richard Chiona.
In the ladies category, Daisy Nkhoma came first followed by Tupokiwe Msukwa, Magret Ngugama third and Ellen Mpinganjira.
The last Olympiad in 2016 that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan and Malawi was ably represented there as well through FM Gerald Mphungu, CM Petros Mfune, CM 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.
Chiletso goes to Batumi with some confidence after becoming African Amateurs champion in Zambia as well coming 6th at the World Amateurs held in Italy.