Zambian outclasses local chess players
Local top chess players were humbled and humiliated during Mdina International Open Chess tournament which Zambian, Godwin Phiri, won at Simama Hotel in Lilongwe on Sunday.
The three-day tournament, which started on Friday, attracted 10 Zambians—the first time for the tournament to welcome foreigners.
World chess governing body, Fide, upgraded the tournament to the international level two years ago.
During the action, Phiri scored eight points to beat compatriot and International Master, Chitumbo Mwali, who also scored eight points.
The pair, just like in the rest of the ties, were separated using the Buchholz tie breaking system.
South Africa-based Malawian, Joseph Mwale, salvaged home pride when he finished third with 6.5 points.
Defending champion, Petros Mfune, was pushed to fourth position with six points whereas David Mawango ended on fifth position with 5.5 points.
Another Zambian, Douglas Munenga, finished sixth with 5.5 while Malawians, Alfred Chimthere and Chiletso Chipanga, ended on position seven and eight, respectively after chalking 5.5 points apiece.
The champion pocketed K360,000 with the runner-up receiving K215,000. The third-placed got K75,000.
The only blemish on the Zambian champion, Phiri, was a defeat to Malawi’s chess darling, Mwale, in the sixth round.
Phiri, the self-styled greatest player in the world, thanked Mdina Business Solutions for sponsoring the event, which he described as tough.
Mfune boasted to have not been beaten by a Malawian in the event.
“If the foreign-based players had not come, I would have been the champion again,” he said.
The only lady participant in the event, Ellen Mpinganjira, was applauded for scoring against men. She was given a consolation prize.
Mdina Business Solutions Representative, Grant Kankhulungo, hailed Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) and the Central Region Chess League (CRCL) for organising the event.
Chessam Vice-President, Mark Chikoko, said the sponsorship will help local players to gain international exposure.
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