By Duncan Mlanjira
Chess Federation of Lesotho, in consultation with African Chess Confederation, has announced the postponement of the 2020 Zone 4.5 Individuals Chess Championships that were scheduled to be hosted in the mountain kingdom from March 27th to April 5th at Blue Mountain Inn Hotel.
A statement from the confederation says this is due to the request made by the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission(LSRC) with regard to suspension of all travel trips into and from Lesotho by the government following the worldwide exponential escalation of cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which World Health Organisation (WHO) has described as an epidemic.
Lesotho Chess Federation says the revised schedule for the hosting of the 2020 Zone 4.5 Chess Championship will be advised and communicated upon further consultation with LSRC.
Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) identified Fide Master Joseph Mwale to represent Malawi at the Zone 4.5, which comprises Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries.
Mwale, who is based in South Africa, is the highest rated player and defending champion for Malawi.
He also participated in a similar tournament last year, together with Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Ellen Mpinganjira, in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
In that event, International Master Fy Antenaina Rakotomaharo, won gold on home soil.
According to CHESSAM publicist, Alfred Chinthere, Malawi ever hosted the tournament in 2015 at Shire Highlands Hotel in Blantyre, a tournament that was won by Zambian International Master Richmond Phiri.
“CHESSAM targets exposing many players to such international events, however, current financial constraints mean one individual (FM Mwale) makes the trip this time around,” Chinthere said.