Malawi prepares for 2006 Chess Olympiad
Malawi Malawi Malawi

Mphatso Malidadi, "Zomba Player leads Chess Qualifiers," Malawi Daily Times, 2 February 2006 (Blantyre, Malawi).

Unheralded Zomba Chess Club player Bright Nthara started on an impressive note to lead the Southern Region league qualifiers that are earmarked to identify players that will qualify for the national championship as well as candidates to play against British grandmaster Nigel Short.

Malawi chess set

The unknown Nthara is on brink of making it into both top four to qualify for national championship to select players that will make it to Italy for the chess Olympiad as well as making it in the top 25 that face Short.

Following the games that were held on Saturday at Polytechnic, Nthara accumulated four points to take the way and he only needs to win two more games to see his dreams materialise. The qualifiers will proceed on Saturday at the same venue.

Limbe Club's
Stanley Mpinganjira took second position and will meet Nthara in one of the decisive games while Henry Matewere, who is tied with Mpinganjira on the same three and a half points will date Charles Chiwaya.

Lembani Undi will trade pieces with Ackim Chihana while player of the moment Susan Namangale will take on veteran Joseph Chalemba. Proving that she is now in fine form, Namangale claimed another big casualty when she defeated former champion Kajani Kaunda.

Amongst the players that are tied at three points each are Namangale, Chiwaya, Chalemba and Undi while Kaunda faces a daunting task as he must win all his remaining games to qualify for the national finals as he has only amassed two points.

Malawi chess set

Notable players that have failed to play in the qualifiers include Gilton Mkumbwa and Zomba rising star Richard Chiona, who are thereby ruled out for national assignments.

The Central Region already identified their candidates for the national qualifiers with
Ulemu Chiluzi, Malama Mwanza, Chuma and Ackim Mwale emerging top.

Players that would emerge in the top four from the three regions would qualify for the national finals where they will join seeded champion
James Kamowa, his runner-up Alfred Chinthere, third-placed Yohane Misomali and Mike Nyirenda to select the best four that will represent the country in Italy.

Meanwhile, Nigel Short who is expected in the country in March, was last week in Jamaica where he played 33 games winning 25 and drawing the rest.

Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicity secretary Mkumbwa said Short's victory in Jamaica speaks volumes about his abilities and status since the Caribbean country has seven internationals masters as compared to Malawi's none.

"I only hope that our performance will not be sub-standard otherwise we might be embarrassed," Mkumbwa said. "But I think with better preparations we can do better.

"An international master is a rank below grandmaster and no one in Jamaica managed to beat Short.

"As of now, we do not have an international master. We must prepare intensively to put up stiff challenge," he said.

Editor's Note: The article states that Jamaica has seven International Masters. This is incorrect. The island-nation has no International Masters and two FIDE Masters.

Malawi, (Vera Cheal)

Malawi (Vera Cheal)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 3 February 2006