By McDonald Chapalapata, Contributor:
The inaugural National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc- sponsored online chess tournament took place last weekend with an unprecedented 166 participants.
The K3.6 million tournament was played on lichess platform in four categories of first timers, juniors, college students and open section for males and females.
In the first timers’ category, newcomer Precious Thebe of Mzuzu reigned supreme with 8.5 points, followed by Mzuzu International Academy’s Melisa Kwakwala who scored eight points.
Joshua Bulaula came third with 7.5 points. Faith Kamanga emerged the category’s best performer.
Thebe received an Itel tablet while the rest got book vouchers and data bundles for their efforts in making chess an education tool. Other prizes included cash and chess sets.
In the juniors’ category, ladies’ junior national champion Priyasha Shriyan of Bishop Mackenzie Primary School in Lilongwe scooped top position, followed by Rafik Waliyala and Praise Kalambo on second and third position, respectively.
The three amassed eight points apiece and were separated by a bucholz tie-breaker.
Martin Shaba and Dakshesh Dutt made the honours’ list with 7.5 and seven points, respectively.
In the college students’ category, College of Medicine student Tumbikani Munthali triumphed with 11 points.
Mzuzu University’s Ronald Chimkute amassed eight points to come second while Martin Mbendera, Andrew Kaliba and Thandizo Chunga were tied on third position with 7.5 points.
Outstanding players in the college category were Roosevelt Chirwa, Tamala Kaliwo and Charity Tadeyo.
In the open section, Hubert Nanthambwe, a Paralegal Advisory Service Institute employee, defied the odds to claim the bragging rights ahead of tourney favourites Fide Master Joseph Mwale and Previous Kamwendo.
Nanthambwe accumulated 10 points, followed by Mwale’s 9.5 points while Kamwendo got nine points.
Winners in the ladies’ category were in the order of Woman Candidate Master Ellen Mpinganjira, Desiderata Nkhoma, Susan Namangale, Tapiwa Banda and Woman Fide Master Linda Chaononga.
The first timers’ category attracted 39 participants while the juniors had 29.
There were 43 in the college students section, with 55 competing in the open section.
Mzuzu International Academy and Karibu Academy registered the highest number of student chess players.
Chessam President Susan Namangale hailed NBM for the support, saying it would go a long way in promoting chess in the country.
“We are promoting chess as a tool for education, hence our appreciation of the bank’s support. We also want to engage chess players mainly in developing the game at grassroots level. We look forward to continued partnership with National Bank,” Namangale said.
NBM plc Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager Akossa Hiwa said the bank partnered Chessam to push the chess agenda in the country.
“Chess is a strategic game that helps players to think critically in making the right moves. That is why we have pumped K3.6 million into this tournament. We want to develop chess and use it as a tool for education and we are impressed with what we have seen so far,” Hiwa said.