Joseph Mwale, Priyasha Santosh Shriyan shine in chess
Chess stars Joseph Mwale and Priyasha Santosh Shriyan underlined their class when they defended National Open Chess titles at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre.
The four-day championship ended on Monday. It attracted 26 players in the open section and 14 in the ladies category.
Mwale collected 7.5 points to defend the accolade while Precious Kamwendo ended on second position with seven points.
Peter Nyama collected seven points but finished third after Buchholz tie-break was used to separate him from the runner-up.
Mwale said he prepared well for the championship.
“I spent sleepless nights practising my game on opening and closing. I am delighted that it has paid off,” he said.
During the competition, he defeated his brother George, Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga, Precious Kamwendo, Stanford Chiwambo, Martin Shaba, Ken Foster and Jonathan Ibrahim.
He, however, lost to Francisco Mwangupiri and drew with Peter Nyama.
In the ladies category, Priyasha won the accolade for the third successive time when she collected eight points.
“During this tournament, I did not lose any of my games. I drew two games and won the rest. I have been the ladies national chess champion since 2020. I won my first championship in Lilongwe, then Mzuzu and now in Blantyre,” said the 17-year-old Bishop Mackenzie student.
On her way to the title defence, she beat the country’s highest rated female player Women Fide Master (WFM), Linda Jambo-Chaononga, and drew with Women Candidate Master (WCM) Ellen Mpinganjira- Mtemang’ombe and Charity Tadeyo.
Tupokiwe Msukwa got 7.5 points to grab a silver medal while Desiderata Nkhoma finished third with six points.
The championship attracted the best players from the Northern Region Chess League, Central Region Chess League and the Southern Region Chess League.
Mwale got K500,000, a tablet, a trophy and a gold medal while Priyasha received K300, 000, a tablet, trophy and a gold medal.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Mpilo Mizere said they want to make Malawi a chess playing nation.
“We want to make sure that all demographic groups in Malawi are playing chess. To achieve this, key initiatives have been put in place which include Chess in Education, Women Chess Championships, Youth Championships, International Event Hosting, National Championships and the GM project which aims at producing Malawi’s first International Master,” he said.
Mizere thanked Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) for funding the championship alongside others including M1 Electronics, BMM Infratech Consulting Engineering, Mayeso Mphande, former Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa, Tutule Msukwa and Dadaz Chess Academy.
MNCS Board Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise pledged to continue supporting Chessam.
He asked the body to present equal prizes to men and women winners.
“Last year we supported Chessam to send a team to compete at the 2022 World Chess Olympiad in India. I recommend that the prizes for the women section be increased,” he said.
However, Madise challenged other players to stop Mwale and Priyasha from winning the titles again.