African Chess Confederation (ACC) has hailed Malawi for accepting to host the African Individual Chess championship despite the Covid pandemic.
ACC President Lewis Ncube made the remarks in Lilongwe on Monday night.
“Hosting the event will raise the image of Malawi chess. It is also auspicious since it is also qualifiers. In terms of organisation, it has beenone of the well organised events in Africa,” Ncube said.
The continent’s biggest and elite show piece got underway Tuesday at Golden Peacock Hotel with 21 competing countries including Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and hosts Malawi.
This year’s event has attracted 74 male participants and 45 females. The best four players will qualify for next year’s World Chess Championship. For the first time ever, Malawi is hosting Africa Individual Chess Championship.
Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said he was excited that Malawi had hosted top chess players from 21 countries in Africa.
“This is an opportunity for Malawi players to compete against the best players in Africa. It is our hope that the players will perform well,” Msungama said.
Malawi also hosted Zone 4.5 chess championship at Shire Highlands Hotel in 2015, which attracted players only from Southern Africa.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) President Susan Namangale was optimistic that the event would be a success.
“It is a great thing for us to host the competition for the first time,” she said.
The country has featured 20 players in both men’s and female’s category.
Highly rated Chiletso Chipanga said he was ready to give out his best.
“We promise that we will make the nation proud,” Chipanga said.
The previous edition was hosted in Tunisia in 2019 but the event did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
Eight Grand Master (GM) will take part in the event including defending champion Amin Baseem from Egypt, who is also the highest rated player in Africa and 36th in the world.
Two Algerian Grand Masters Bellahcene Bilel and Haddouche Mohamed, Adly Ahmed, Fawzy Adham, Hesham Abdelrahman and women’s grandmaster Wafa Shahenda are also there.