By Duncan Mlanjira
Exceptional chess talent was on display at this year’s S&S Geniuses Schools Chess Championship held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre at CFAO premises in Blantyre on Saturday that has prompted co-sponsors Stanley Onjezani Kenani Susan Musa Namangale, to pledged continued sponsorship of the tournament.
Kenani is a renowned Malawian writer and newspaper columnist while Namangale is Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president and they made their commitment after been impressed with the enthusiastic participation, coupled with the excellent display of talent from the youngsters, some as young as eight years old.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, who couldn’t make it to the prize giving ceremony, Desmond Namangale assured the youthful players that both Stanley and Susan are geared to develop the sport at grassroots level in order to produce Malawian chess grandmasters in the near future.
“Please, continue being enthusiastic with this sport because it forms part of your good upbringing both socially and academically,” Namangale said.
The prizes on offer trophies, medals, chess literature as well as drinking bottles and learning materials such as hard covers, mathematical instruments, school bags and pens.
There were over 50 players from various primary and secondary schools in Blantyre including Thyolo-based St. Anthony Secondary School.
“This sport is a tool for education because it shapes your minds through concentration, quick thinking and weighing your options for possible killer moves. It also makes you have a calculative personality.
“So, Susan and Stanley asked me to assure you that next year they will be back with another tournament in a bigger way,” said Namangale of the tournament that is co-sponsored at K300,000.
“We also are asking the corporate world to join hands with chess by co-sponsoring this schools tournament because it is the only way we can develop the sport from the grassroots.”
Speaking on behalf of Chessam, national schools chess development coordinator, Margaret Ngugama applauded SRCL for a very successful tournament where very competitive games were played.
“I am glad that some of the schools’ chess patrons are here to assess the performance of their players. I urge you to continue training them because I noticed that some keep making costly mistakes especially through closing their games,” she said.
She also applauded Jacaranda Cultural Centre for providing the venue free of charge, saying that speaks volumes of the place’s desire to promote arts and crafts — chess being one of them.
Jacaranda representative Constance Thyangathyanga also asked the youngsters to keep patronizing the places to various events they hold in music, arts and other education programmes.
“We are happy to boost such a tournament for the kids so that they can appreciate what we do here. So during the holidays make a date with us again,” she said, adding that other services they offer include art, French, Portuguese, Chichewa classes.
The targetted participants are Under-12 and 14 players combined in order to expose them against elder kids as well as the Open Section for senior secondary boys and girls.
Prizes were given to top 10 players in each category that had several players being top in two categories.
In Under 12 girls, eight-year-old Rachel Jailos scored 5.5 points from a possible 7 points to become champion in that category that also saw her taking second position in Under-14.
Elizabeth Bizwick score 5 points to come second in Under-12 and was third in Under-14 while Terryce Malema, with 4 points was third in Under-12. Under-14 girls champion was Jean Chizundi with 6 points.
Joyful Chisinga scored 5.5 points to clinch the Under-12 boys title while 8-year-old Asher Jailos was second with 5 and Jeffrey Quongwane on third with 4.
Under 14 boys champion was Kida Mkuwu with 6 followed by Lungile Mendulo with 5.5 with Joyful Chisinga coming third.
Open Section for senior girls saw Janet Basikolo winning all her 7 games to become champion while Gertrude Chilewa scored 5.5 as runner-up and Grace Chilewa on third place with 4.5.
Praise Salima also won all his 7 games in Boys Open Section while Steven Songwe had 5 on second position tying with Wilfred Mathunda (3rd), Yebo Sanga (4th) and Happiness Masuku (5th).