By Duncan Mlanjira
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) has announced that it has introduced an annual membership fee for all local chess players resident in Malawi and abroad, as a pre-requisite to participate in any tournament or activity organized or administered by Chessam or its affiliate leagues of the North (NRCL), Centre (CRCL) and the South (SRCL).
A statement from Chessam General Secretary Leonard Sharra says according to a resolution of the Chessam Executive Committee meeting held in Lilongwe on November 3, the membership fee will shall be paid annually covering the period from July to June, which is the Chessam and government financial year.
“This means membership for 2018/19 is officially open and only players that will be registered by the time Chessam holds activity from January 2019 will be eligible to participate in that activity and the activities that will fall up to June 2019.
“The Annual membership fees shall be paid through the regional leagues as follows: 2018/19 – K5000 (K2000 for membership card processing valid for 5 years) while the following years K3000 shall be paid as annual membership fees.
“All chess players are, therefore, requested to submit their passport size photos and personal details like birthdate etc though their respective leagues.
“The membership drive is in line with International Chess Federation (FIDE) standards, which require each member federation to have a data base of its registered members.
“Upon commencement of the membership drive, Chessam will create its own WhatsApp group of paid up members, who will have an opportunity of receiving regular updates from the association, interact with the Chessam leadership and contribute ideas for the development of chess in the country.
“Please, note that the WhatsApp group will not in any way substitute the legal structures or system of Chessam,” says the statement.
Meanwhile, Chessam is moving in high places by establishing a secretariat in Lilongwe and is inviting highly motivated and qualified individuals to apply for the post of administrative officer.
A circular released by Sharra says the successful candidate will be engaged on a six-month contract but renewable basing on performance and shall be responsible for looking after Chessam assets and providing regular reports on the status of assets; organising and keeping all records for the association and manning the secretariat and ensuring security of all assets and records.
He or she also also be required to prepare regular reports on office expenses and budgets; maintain Chessam calendar and schedule appointments; providing support during executive committee board meetings; lending out of Chessam equipment in accordance with the standards set by the executive committee and any other administrative and logistical duties assigned from time to time.
Applicants are required to show proven work experience as an administrative officer or similar role; good knowledge of administration procedures; experience with office management software like MS Office (MS Excel and MS Word) and strong Organizational skill with a problem solving attitude.
They must also have good written and verbal communication, diploma in office/business administration or any other relevant qualification and that chess players will have added advantage.
“Interested candidates are requested to send their applications along with a detailed CV with three traceable referees by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before close of business on 19th December, 2018 or addressed to The General Secretary, Private Bag 346, Lilongwe.
Chessam publicity secretary Alfred Chinthere physical offices have not yet been identified and the admin officer is expected to open up the office which has been earmarked at Lilongwe Community Centre.
He said they will use the same funding from Malawi National Council of Sports but eventually they will make the secretariat self sustainable.
“By the way we will also create a database of all chess players in the country by registering them through regional committees. The players will be issued with ID cards to participate at a subsided registration cost in national tournaments.
Chessam has also introduced Awards of Excellence to all male and female chess players that will be attaining the international titles of Grandmaster (GM), International Master (M), Fide Master (FM) and Candidate Master (CM).
The awards will start this financial year with those that attained title at the recent World Chess Olympiad, held in Batumi, Georgia to be presented at an Awards Gala Night which will be combined with the closing ceremony for the forthcoming national tournament on December 23
“Chinthere said the decision to introduce the awards was arrived at during their executive committee meeting held in Lilongwe on November 3 as a way of encouraging best chess performance mainly in international tournaments.
Joseph Mwale attained FM title, Ellen Mpinganjira is WCM while George Mwale attained CM title.
Chinthere said the executive agreed to awarding US$1,000 for GM, US$500 for IM, US$250 for FM and US$125 for CM.
Chessam is inviting companies, organizations and individuals to support the initiative by contributing in cash or kind.
Chessam is a registered body affiliated to Federation Internationale Des Echecs (FIDE), Malawi National Council of Sports and an Associate Member of Malawi Olympic Committee.