Preparations for the 2018 Mdina Malawi Open Chess Championship, have reached a climax, as the tournament is expected to start this Friday at the College of Medicine in Blantyre.
According to Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) publicity secretary, Makhosi Nyirenda, so far ninety-one players have registered to take part in the three-day international competition as more players are expected to register.
Four countries namely Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the host nation, will be represented at the tournament.
“Zambia and Zimbabwe will have six and two players respectively, while Mozambique will be represented by four, with the majority being Malawians,” said Nyirenda.
He added that the tournament will be played in three sections A, B and Ladies.
“Section A will comprise players of ratings from 1800 and above. Section B will have players rated 1800 and below among them college students from Polytechnic, Chancellor College, Kamuzu College of Nursing and The Malawi University of Science and Technology. Top primary school students will also make the section. Then finally we will have the ladies section,” added Nyirenda.
Malawi’s South Africa based candidate master (CM) Joseph Mwale will be the highest rated player at the tournament (2178), followed by CM Chiletso Chipanga (2162) and Zambian Timothy Kabwe(2126) in third spot.
They will all battle in Section A alongside Mozambican Ignacio Caricoa and Zimbabwean Fortune Gandawa among others.
Top junior players like Yebo Sanga, Allen Namangale, Khwima Gondwe and Zaithwa Mwale will contest in Section B.
Local Women Fide Master (WFM) Linda Jambo, Ellen Mpinganjira and former ladies champion, Celiana Sanga just to mention a few, will tussle in the ladies section, which will also have Zimbabwean Talidyne Chaparadza and Mozambican pair of Sheilla Sitoi and Nuzela Fanela.
This year’s championship is assured to produce new winners in all sections, because Zambians Chitumbo Mwali and Phyllis Mwilolo will not be around to defend their respective Open and Ladies Section titles, won last year.
The Mdina Malawi Open Chess Championship, is sponsored by Malawian owned but South African based Mdina Engineering Company to the tune of K3 million kwacha.
Winner of Section A will pocket K250,000, with the runner-up getting K150,000, while K100,000 will go to the third best player.
Section B will see the winner receiving K80,000, while the number two and three will walk away with K50,000 and K30,000 respectively.
A prize of K150, 000 awaits the winner of the Ladies Section, with the other two taking home K80,000 and K50,000 each.