Dadaz Academy to continue chess trainings for street-connected children

* Also plans to organize cross-boarder trips for children for chess games;

* Inter school trips for friendly games; groom more youths to participate in international championships

* To register Dadaz as an academy at world chess governing body, FIDE

By Duncan Mlanjira

After the success of a chess training session with enthusiastic street-connected children as part of the celebration of the festive season at Kamuzu Mausoleum in Lilongwe on Tuesday, the New Year’s Day, Dadaz Chess Academy plans to continue with the programme going forward as part of new strategies for 2024.


Founded by former Chess Association Malawi (CHESSAM) president, Susan Namangale, Dadaz Academy was primarily initiated with a quest to groom prodigies all over the country to promote the sport at grassroots and help Malawi become a strong chess-playing nation.

Dadaz Academy maintains that chess is an important tool to build strategic leaders of tomorrow and an important tool for mindset change, which is an enabler in MW2063 development blueprint.

In her end of 2023 report, Namangale thus said in collaboration with City Councils, they will continue to introduce chess for the street-connected children and to further host youth events including international events.

The lessons on New Year’s Day

It also plans to organize cross-boarder trips for children for chess games; interschool trips for friendly games; groom more youths to participate in international championships and to register Dadaz as an academy at world chess governing body, FIDE.

Dadaz Academy also successfully inculcated chess-playing culture amongst prison inmates — using the sport for mindset change for them to become useful citizens once liberated into the society.

Dadaz thus plans to expand the prison outreach, which Namangale enhanced after she attended Chess for Freedom conference in Chicago, USA and through her experience when she visited Cook County Sheriff — USA’s second largest prison — she was inspired to extend her chess in prison program at Maula Prison to other penitentiaries.

Chess in Prison is a tool to improve the quality of life for inmates as they prepare for liberation and Namangale also facilitated that Malawi inmates participate in international online chess games.


Whilst also in the US,  Namangale got connected with Russell Makofsky, founder of The Gift of Chess — a global sports charity that is transforming lives through its universal language of chess — that saw Dadaz Academy being appointed as its ambassador.

Namangale herself was appointed Global Head of The Gift of Chess and for the last quarter of 2023, the Academy has distributed over 1,000 chess sets (5 set gifts) across schools and prisons — provided by the US global sports charity.

“The year 2023 was a great and busy year for Dadaz Chess Academy as we contributed significantly to CHESSAM’s agenda to making Malawi a chess-playing nation,” says Namangale in her report.

“The year 2023 was a resounding success, bringing together young chess talents in an atmosphere of friendly competition and sportsmanship.

“We extend our gratitude to all our sponsors, who supported us throughout the year; distinguished parents for their support and contributions to our activities; the Media for covering our events throughout the year and CHESSAM, through its affiliate Central Region Chess League for supporting our efforts.

“The Dadaz events not only showcased budding chess stars but also promoted the spirit of chess in Malawi’s youth supporting Chessams agenda [and] we look forward to another year and more exciting chess moments that will continue to foster the growth of chess in Malawi.”

The report highlights that they finished 2023 with a registration of over 120 learners at Dadaz Chess Academy for centers in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Nkhotakota, who are in different categories of Lower Beginner, Middle and Upper Class — most of whom participate in tournaments ranging from 4-16 years of age.

The Academy organised several tournaments — first in March that had children from Lilongwe and Mzuzu in which up-and-coming international, Lucie Chimeta from Mzuzu Dadaz emerged the winner.

In July, they had a tournament to celebrate the Independence Day on July 6 that attracted over 50 children in Lilongwe at Chill Point in Area 47 sector 4 — whose winners received medals and The Gift of Chess sets.

Back to School tournament in August was organised in collaboration with sponsors Zimpertec-Vitalite that attracted a total of 106 kids from 7 districts including Mzuzu and Nkhotakota in two categories of Under-16 (33 boys and 25 girls) and Under-10 (23 boys and 25 girls) — representation a commendable 47% representation of girls.

“This is good as chess is seen as a male-dominated sport,” says the report. “We encourage girls to play chess competitively with boys and they played together.”

The event was graced by Minister of Sports Uchizi Mkandawire, himself a chess enthusiast as well as other esteemed guests such as Ulrich Zimmerman, chief operating officer of Zimpertec and also a German Fide Master (FM).

In celebration the Festive Season, a Christmas Tournament was organised that attracted 35 children with Praise Kakota, previously member of Dadaz’s Nkhotakota branch, emerging the winner after winning all his games.

There was also the Nkhotakota Open organised at Nkhotakota Pottery — also to celebrate Christmas that had Emmanuel Magaga from Lilongwe as the winner while Emmanuel Chiniko from Nkhotakota was winner for the junior section.

As The Gift of Chess ambassador, Dadaz Chess received 1,000 chess sets of which 100 were distributed to CHESSAM and the rest to 25 districts and 170 centers that included schools, orphanages, refugee camp and prisons.


In its commitment to expand its global presence, Dadaz Chess Academy trainer, Stanford Chiwambo received support to compete in an Open tournament in Mozambique, enhancing his skills and exchanging insights with chess enthusiasts.

The Academy also sent three of its talented children to the Africa Youth Chess Championship hosted in Egypt to provide them with valuable competitive experience and also fostered interactions among participants from different African nations.

Dadaz, with support from the Prison Commissioner General, engineering company Mota Engil and M1 Electronics, organised two prison teams of Maula and Zomba prisons that participated in the intercontinental Online Chess Championship in October.

This was the first time for Malawi to register prison chess teams that saw Maula team finishing in quarterfinals and all the participants received certificates.

The Prison Chess for freedom Outreach reached out to 16 penitentiaries in Malawi where strong clubs were formed at Maula, Zomba, Biyadzi Juvenile and Nkhotakota where tournaments were organised within the prisons walls and awarded prizes and medals.

At Nkhotakota Prison, the inmates played with Nkhotakota Chess Club members while Maula Prison — where Dadaz team visits players on fortnightly basis, had two tournaments sponsored.

Dadaz also supported other events in provision of medals and prizes for other tournaments such as Mwale Academy, CHESSAM and Mangochi and also formed partnerships with private schools such as First Steps in Area 12; Access International Academy in Area 10; Bedir International School in Area 10; Moyo Girls Academy in Nkhotakota and Rafick Schools in Mzuzu.

In supporting refugee and asylum seekers, that Academy reached out to Dzaleka Camp under ‘Chess for Protection Outreach’ where they distributed chess sets to a secondary school and to Agapao Foundation and in November, they joined UNHCR mission on sports to meet the chess club members and other partners working with refugees.

Two holiday camp activities for the children were organised in August and December 2023 which included chess, art, music and other fun games and during the December camp, the children toured Kamuzu Mausoleum and Lilongwe Wildlife center as an educational visit.

The children also went to the aviation air show on the Aviation Career Day in Lilongwe — as emphasis that chess “is not only a game but a tool for education”.

A new center was opened at Area 47 sector 4 in Lilongwe, which is bigger and shares space with other activities like music and is set to hosting more tournaments in 2024 and open to others wiling to use the premises for chess events.

On social responsibility, Dadaz partnered with Satguru Travel through which on February 18 planted trees and played friendly games at Manondo Primary School where Dadaz children also shared school accessories donated by C&M investments.

Dadaz also continued to support Jennifer Justine, a learner at Chinzu Primary School in Dowa in her educational needs and helped her spend holidays in Lilongwe for extra remedial work and also chess training. Jenifer goes to school under the CHESSAM/Pyxus scholarship.

Programmes come with challenges and in her report, Namangale highlighted inadequate sponsorship, saying: “It was hard to get regular financial support, making it tough to improve and grow our programs.

“This limited our ability to host more events and reach more people and another big challenge faced was inconsistency in some learners in attending chess classes and this impacted on how much other children learnt compared to others during the year.”