By Duncan Mlanjira
Fishan Mwagomba has made Chess Association Malawi (Chessam) and the whole nation proud by winning the silver medal during last week’s Africa Amateurs that took place in Windhoek, Namibia.
From nine rounds played, Mwagomba picked 6.5 points — winning six games and drawing one and losing two. He was just 1.5 points behind the champion, Joster Kandangwe from Zambia, who scored 7.5 points.
On third place was Candidate Master titled Namibian, Immanuel Ganseb, who scored 6 points.
Chessam president Susan Namangale said they sent four representatives to the tournament but though the other three found it tough going there, the experience they gained will help them for future events.
“We sent the players with limited resources by bus and they were fatiqued but that did not discourage them. So this achievement of a silver medal makes me so proud as Chessam president. I have started the year at a very positive note and chess for Malawi will surely not be the same,” she said.
Last year in February, Chessam picked its first medal when Candidate Master and National Chess Champion, Chiletso Chipanga won the Africa Amateurs gold medal that was held in Livingstone, Zambia and the win entered him for the World Amateurs in Cagliari when he finished an impressive 6th position out of 49 participants.
Out of nine rounds he played, he won six to gather six points, just one point behind eventual winner, Singh Arvider Preet of Indonesia, who had 7 points together with Galavato Miguel Angel of Colombia, who came second.
Chiletso stunned everyone at the African Amateurs when he won the gold medal with a round to spare after winning eight out of nine rounds, a point clear of his runner-up, Leslie Chikuse of Zambia, whom he had also beaten in another round.
Following the silver medal win, Mwagomba has booked himself a place for the World Amateurs to take place in Mexico in April and Namangale appealed to well-wishers to support Chessam that he should fly to Mexico to ably represent the country.
“Chessam is very proud of this achievement and it’s a huge plus to Malawi chess,” Namangale said. “Malawi is gaining good status on the international scene as evidenced by what Chiletso Chipanga achieved around this time last year when he won the African Amateurs in Zambia and went on to perform excellently at the World Amateurs in Italy.
“More so, Malawi performed well at the World Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia where three players attained new international titles — Joseph Mwale elevated as FIDE Master (FM), his brother George Mwale as Candidate and Ellen Mpinganjira Mtemang’ombe as Woman Candidate Master.
“At the same time, Chessam keeps sending youths for international tournaments where they are getting a lot of experience and will benefit the sport in very short time. My heartfelt congratulations to Fishan and I encourage him to keep the fire burning,” Namangale said.
This will be the time for a Malawi chess player to participate at the World Amateurs — the first being that for Fide Master Gerald Mphungu in 2014 in Singapore where he ended on position 14 and last year through Chiletso.