By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi’s chess ace, Fide Master (FM) Joseph Mwale, on Sunday spiced up Central Region Chess League’s first of its newly-elected committee’s monthly online tournaments by winning with 13.5 points from 15 rounds played.
The South Africa-based player and coach, who is running an online chess academy for up-and-coming young players, lost to the speedy and dangerous Kelusi Mhango and drew against his brother, Candidate Master (CM) George Mwale.
George is also involved in the Mwale Chess Academy as assistant coach together CM Petros Mfune and Joseph’s South African friend, Tshediso Mpya.
Joseph said he deemed it fit to participate in this Open blitz tournament in a spirit of solidarity to impress on potential sponsors to support CRCL’s mission to strengthen online chess by organising monthly tournaments that will offer attractive prizes.
“The more they play these online chess tournaments, the more better players Malawi will be producing because the exposure is invaluable,” said Mwale, whose academy holds lessons every Thursdays and Sundays from 17:00hrs conducted on Zoom and Google Meet platforms.
And on Saturdays there tournaments for the students as practicals whose top three winners get coaching for free in the next lesson.
Sunday’s runner-up was an up-and-coming ace Precious Kamwendo, on third place was CM George Mwale while former African Amateurs champion CM Chiletso Chipanga was 4th.
Precious Kamwendo finished with 12.5 points after losing to FM Joseph and South Africa-based CM Paul Khuphwathea, the bullet speed specialist based.
CM George Mwale had 12 points and was beaten by CM Chipanga but he managed to hold the mercurial Mawango to a draw.
The best junior was 16-year-old Bright Kondowe, who came 6th overall — ahead of CM Khuphwathea who was 7th. Kondowe garnered 9.5 points and managed to gun down CM Chipanga and almost bludgeoned Precious Kamwendo — missing a mate in 3.
National team material, 14-year-old Priyasha Santosh was the best female player with 7 points, outwitting experienced and seasoned players such as Ellen Mpinganjira and Linda Jambo — both Women Fide Masters (WFMs).
Newly-elected CRCL chairperson, Mark Ndipita applauded all the players, saying the participation was amazing because a good number of titled players took part.
He also recognised the participation of several players from other leagues since it was open tournament.
“As our first tournament it indeed didn’t disappoint and there are good things ahead,” he said.
“Next month we shall have a physical tournament that will observe COVID-19 rules and will be a rated tournament.
“We are encouraging all unrated players to take part in this over the board tournament so that they become rated by FIDE.”
He appealed to the corporate world and other stakeholders to support CRCL’s activities by sponsoring games or donating chess equipment in order to promote the game, which has many advantages such as improvement of analytical skills and problem solving.
Ndipita’s new committee has Tapiwa Banda as vice-chairperson, Kondwani Magombo as general secretary and Leonard Mbwana as treasurer.
Davie Mawango is the league’s publicity secretary, Candidate Master (CM) Petros Mfune is the regional schools coordinator while committee members are Chikondi Manetti, CM George Mwale and Laston Kaledzera.