By Alfred Chimthere, CHESSAM Publicist
Fide Master Joseph Mwale has lived up to the billing as the highest rated player in the country through a brilliant performance to win the 2019 National Chess Championship hosted on December 19-22 at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
In the ladies section, Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) president Susan Namangale proved age counts as the experienced player turned back the hands of time to claim gold at the expense of active players.
Mwale secured an impressive eight points out of nine, winning all his games despite forfeiting his round 3 game due to miscommunication on rescheduling of the round.
He dethroned Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga, who after he was crowned African Chess Amateurs champion in Livingstone, Zambia, has closed 2018 in high spirits having by clinching National Championship.
In that tournament’s nine rounds, Chipanga won seven, drew one and lost one to garner 7.5 points.
Mwale and Namangale have earned themselves tickets to play at the World Chess Olympiad in Russia 2020 tourney.
Namangale, who last played competitive chess some 12 years ago, scooped 6.5 points out of 9.
“I decided to play this tournament because I am not seeing adequate competition among ladies, hence I wanted to increase competition,” said Namangale, the only female chess president in Africa.
The remaining four slots in both Open and Ladies categories will be filled when Top 16 Men and Top 10 Ladies compete in April.
The 16 players who will battle for the four slots are Chipanga, Fide Master Gerald Mphungu, Joseph Nyambalo, Petros Mfune and Alfred Chimthere.
The stable is completed by Ken Forster, Joseph Mvuche Gondwe, Fischern Mwagomba, Hope Mwazozo, Richard Chiona, Ernest Matola, Peter Nyama, Stanford Chibambo, Wilson Chingati, James Kamowa, and Ronald Chimkute.
In the ladies section, the top 10 for April tournament include highest rated player Desiderata Nkhoma and Woman Candidate Master Ellen Mpinganjira.
The other players are Annie Simwaba, Royce Msiska, Tupokiwe Msukwa, Tina Kumwenda, Martha Kapalamula, Vitumbiko Gondwe, Shalom Kapende and Charity Tadeyo.
There were 30 players in the open section while ladies had 15.
Joseph Mwale and Candidate Master Paul Khuphwathea came all the way from their base in South Africa to honour their presence while Francis Banda came from Botswana.
The guest of honour, John Kaoche, Principal Sports Officer in the Ministry of Sports, hailed CHESSAM for promoting chess in the country.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira