Some members of the chess fraternity have launched a campaign to bring back entrepreneur Tiwone Mdina to restart bankrolling the international open tournament again.
The South Africa based engineer withdrew sponsorship two years ago under suspicious circumstances as reports suggested a fallout with Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) leadership. At the time of withdraw, the sponsorship was pegged at over K4 million minus other administrative cost.
Former Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) Chairperson James Mayeso Chirwa, who is spearheading the campaign, said the chess family needs Mdina back.
“During his time of sponsorship the number of players and young ones playing chess improved a lot. This was the time I was the chairman of SRCL,” he said.
Chirwa felt the standards of the game had been affected following Mdina’s withdraw.
“We have lagged behind ever since he withdrew his sponsorship. Personally, I love the game of chess and I am lobbying for his come back,” he said.
“Currently players are idle and this time we can do more with on line chess tournaments,” he said.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) Publicity Secretary Alfred Chimthere supported the initiative.
“Chessam is open and willing to encourage all potential partners in uplifting the game Mdina inclusive. That is a welcome development,” he said.
Mdina said he was following developments on the social media but declined to commit his return.
“At the time of withdraw we said our brand had saturated so we needed time for a breather. Otherwise we are following what is happening,” he said.
Mdina championship started as a regional event before turning invitational and then national. It was elevated to international status where authorities used to rate players on Fide ranking.
South Africa based Malawian Joseph Mwale was the last player to lift the trophy after ending the dominance of foreign players.