ELO 1848 fide rated Precious Kamwendo defied all odds to win the “Ifumbo Day of Checkmates” tournament that took place on Saturday the 24th of February 2018 at College of Medicine in the Southern Region of Malawi.
The one day event was organized by Malawi’s Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) and it brought together a total of 33 respectable chess players, each famously known for their unique playing style and ability to deliver brilliant checkmates. Some of Malawi’s favorites were present, including Joseph Nyambalo known as the Computer, for his ability to out-calculate opponents, Alfred Chimthere known as the Great Finisher, for his magical endgame skills, South African based Stanley Mpinganjira, Kwima Gondwe, one of the youngest brilliant players in the country and George Mwale (elder brother to The Fear), who is scheduled to represent Malawi in the Men’s team this September, at the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. Also participating at the tournament were the all-time lovely ladies such as Ellen Mpinganjira, Margaret Ngugama as well as the ever improving Jennifer Mwenebanda and the charming young female player Daisy Huwa were among some of the ladies that battled it out with the men.
After playing a total of seven rounds, Precious Kamwendo emerged the winner of the monthly tournament and claimed the championship, walking away with 50 thousand Malawi Kwacha. Kamwendo finished with an impressive performance of six (6) points out of a possible seven (7), where he achieved five straight wins and two draws.
Speaking with Precious Kamwendo over a phone interview, he expressed gratitude to God over his win, but was quick to mention that the tournament was quite challenging and he also added that he was a bit nervous during the first two games of the tournament. But after claiming three straight wins against Philip Kamowatimwa, John Mkumbwa and Chancy Kanyangama in the first three (3) rounds respectively, Kamwendo became more relaxed and confident, as he realized that this was his defining moment, so he played his best and delivered to his maximum potential.
Although the upsets of the tournament occurred in round three when Fidelis Jimu defeated (the great finisher) Alfred Chimthere with the black pieces on board two, Joseph Nyambalo also lost to Kaguta Kafere on board one, while, in the same round, Jennifer Mwenebanda claimed her first victory against Philip Kamowatimwa and Kamwendo continued to perform wonders by defeating Chancy Kanyangama, with the white pieces. Kamwendo continued his brilliance in the fifth round as he defeated Kaguta Kafere with the black pieces and Alfred Chimthere in the sixth round, showing that his earlier wins were no fluke. Only Fidelis Jimu and Bywell Walumbe seemed to some extent be on the same level with the eventual champion, as they miraculously managed to record draws against him in the fourth and seventh round respectively.
The tournament ended with Joseph Nyambalo and Bywell Walumbe emerging in second and third place via tie break, as they both finished with five and a half (5.5) points. The fourth place was shared by five players on five (5) points, who were separated with a tie breaker, which saw Alfred Chimthere sitting on the fourth place, while Kaguta Kafele settled for the fifth place. The sixth position was taken by Jimu fidelis while Stanly Mpinganjira and Chikondi Khechi were forced to relax with the seventh and eighth place respectively.
The tournament is one of the biggest and most flourishing events that SRCL has held this year, and most of the chess players look forward to the next edition of the Ifumbo Day of Checkmates, which is scheduled to take place at a later date this year. On his take, the Chairman of SRCL Mr Wasoka Chirwa said that he was glad that they managed to hold such a successful event. He went on to point out that as a league they hope to host and organize more of such major tournaments, which would attract such big names, and to ensure that the tournaments take place in the region so as to grow and revive chess in Malawi.