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Joseph Mwale earns rare Chess World Cup slot

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South Africa-based Malawian Fide Master (FM) Joseph Mwale has dramatically been given a slot to compete at next month’s Fide World Cup in Sochi, Russia.

Mwale, who is Malawi’s highest rated player, did not qualify for the world showpiece but he has been given a slot following a request from Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) President Susan Namangale.

World Chess Federation President Arkady Dvorkovich has given Mwale a wild card to become Malawi’s first individual to compete at the event which will run from July 12 to August 3.

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Mwale will compete at the Fide World Cup 2021 in Sochi, Russia between July 12 and August 3 to become the country’s first representative at the prestigious global showpiece.

Mwale said he was surprised but excited with the development, having finished fifth during the 2021 Africa Individual Chess competi after the top four Egyptians qualified.

“I never saw this coming. I am thankful to both Chessam for their effort and Fide for considering the request. It has been my dream to lift Malawi’s flag at the World Cup and now it is a becoming a reality. I will work hard to make Malawi proud,” said the 28-year-old player who is ranked 8, 753 in the world and will be among 206 players at the World Cup.

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Earlier, Namangale asked the world chess boss to nominate Mwale to compete at the World Cup following his impressive performance at the Africa Individual Championship.

“Though he played eight games, his performance was very good and he came fifth during the 2021 Africa Individual Chess after the four Egyptians that qualified. He missed qualification by half a point and his performance included a win against Algerian GM.

“It was the first time for Malawi to hold the Africa Individual Championship and the performance of our players, two finishing in top 10 [after FM Chiletso Chipanga took seventh position], indicates we are making progress in chess development. I request to you, the president, encourage upcoming federations through such nominations,” Namangale’s letter reads.”

In response, Dvorkovich said they have invited Mwale because the body was satisfied with Chessam’s request.

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