Southern Region Chess League opens up its online tournament for other regional leagues

By Duncan Mlanjira

Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) has secured K200,000 sponsorship from two individuals, Godwin Ulaya and Wasoka Chirwa, for three online chess tournaments, which as open for participation for Centre and Northern leagues

SRCL chairperson Steve Mpighu said the first tournament will be on Sunday, June 7, the second on June 21 and the third on July 5, to be played from 20:00hours. 

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The chess tournaments on lichess.com, an open-source internet chess server run by Lichess.

“The tournaments will have the Open and Ladies’ sections and registration fee is K500 for players from SRCL and K1,000 for players from other leagues. 

“Cash prizes in the Open Section will be given to the top 10 players”, he said.

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Registration should be paid through Mpighu’s TNM Mpamba on 0888 529 653 and Martin Nyamilandu Airtel Money on 0999 877 388.

Mpighu said there would be at least 15 rounds during each tournament and players would be playing Blitz games with a 3+0 time control.

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SRCL publicity secretary Wadza Otomani said the league would be organizing similar online chess tournaments particularly at this time when there are restrictions on public gatherings following the outbreak of COVID-19.

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“As a league, we value our players and we don’t want to put their safety at risk. We need to observe social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” Otomani said.

Otomani expressed gratitude to Ulaya and Wasoka for the sponsorship and appealed to other well-wishers to follow suit.

“We are grateful to these two gentlemen because we have been facing sponsorship challenges for a long time and the outbreak of COVID-19 has worsened the situation,” Otomani said.

The online chess tournaments have become very popular now and it started with the K1 million sponsorship that Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) secured from MyBucks Bank and the first edition was in April won by the country’s highest rated player, Fide Master Joseph Mwale, who is based in South Africa where he teach chess to school kids.

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The second edition was played on Sunday and was won by Candidate Master (CM) Petros ‘Razorblade’ Mfune.

CHESSAM has also embraced an online international chess tournaments initiative which has been launched by the world chess governing body that started on June 1 until June 15, also to be played using lichess.org named ‘Checkmate Coronavirus’.

There will be tournaments three times a week — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 19:00hrs.

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CHESSAM president Susan Namangale said the major prize will consist of, at least, 64 one-week invitations for all participating federations to the 2021 Chess Olympiad in Moscow with flight and lodging expenses fully covered. 

“Other prizes include souvenirs, tickets to chess workshops and mini-matches with grandmasters,” she said.