Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) will send four players to represent the country at next month’s 2022 African Individual Chess Championships in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Nigeria Chess Federation has invited Chessam and other national federations to the championships under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation.
The championships are scheduled for Orchid Hotel from September 17 September 28.
Chessam president Susan Namangale said the four will be picked from the squad that has just returned from the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.
Namangale said sending players to the competition will help in raising the game’s profile in the country.
“We need to be in Nigeria where Africa’s best chess players will be. We want to become the best by beating the best. We hosted the same competition in 2019 and Nigeria sent several players. So we have to reciprocate. We expect to send two male and two female players.
“We will pick them based on their performance at the Olympiad which was also a training tournament for us. We are now working on mobilising resources for the trip. There is little time for preparation, so we are working with speed after our exploits at the Olympiad,” she said.
Namangale said they expect more support from the government which has been positive towards their efforts.
“Earlier this year, we shared our calendar of events which included the Nigeria tournament and the Olympiad. Being the previous hosts, it is important that we travel to Nigeria. We are also hoping for support from other entities. Our target is to move up the ladder on the continent and for our players to achieve higher ratings.
“We also need move a rank up on titles to get closer to the grandmaster level. Four of our players attained conditional titles during the last Olympiad and we need to participate in more international tournaments to gain more ratings. Currently, we are just two levels away from reaching the grand master level. We believe there is great potential for us to do well in Nigeria,” he said.
Sports Council Public Relations Officer Edgar Ntulumbwa acknowledged being contacted by Chessam on the tournament.
“Indeed Chessam has requested for funds for the trip. We will look into our baskets to see if the funds are there. If they are, then why not? We will give them. This is another opportunity for our players to meet the best in the continent and show how good they are after competing at the Olympiad,” Ntulumbwa said.
The championship format will be a Swiss system played over nine rounds in accordance with Fide (world chess governing body) regulations.
Rate of play will be 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with addition of 30 seconds per move from move one for each player.
Winners of the open and the women’s sections will lift Fide titles of International Grand Master and Woman International Grand Master.
Other titles will also be awarded in accordance with Fide regulations.
The winners in each category of the championships will be awarded the 2022 African Individual Chess Champion titles with gold, silver and bronze medals being rewarded to the top three players.
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