It is without doubt that the Mdina Chess Championship, sponsored by Mdina Engineering, is one of the most prestigious competitions that the Malawi Chess community has been blessed with.
The Mdina Chess Championship series debut was in the year 2010, and has so far run for a consecutive 8 years continuing to allure chess players from near and afar, no wonder Mdina Chess is popularly known by their slogan as the unsinkable ship, a gift to Malawi’s Chess.
This year marked the ninth (9th) edition of the Championship and it was held at the College of Medicine in the city of Blantyre, Malawi, from the 15th to the 17th of June 2018.
International players that took part in the Mdina chess ninth (9th) edition included: Zambian chess players Constance Mbatha, Douglas Mwale (popularly known as Chess Zealot), Chrispin Shankangah and Dennis Mwape Chilekwa as well as Mozambique chess players Sheila Sitoe, Farnela Nuzela, Wilton Calicoa and Izdine Gafar.
Some of the local players favorites that took part in the championship included South African based Joseph Mwale popularly known as “the fear”, his brother George Mwale, the famous “Chess Lazorblade” Petros Mfune, Aaron Phiri nicknamed “Chess Master 2000”, Chiletso Chipanga (winner of the 2017 Africa Amateur Chess Championships), Ellen Mpingajira (winner of the “2018 Lisiti Langa Ladies Chess Championship”), Woman Fide Master (WFM) Linda Jambo, Desiderata Nkhoma and Daisy Huwa, one of the promising young female talents.
THE CHESS GAMES
The Championship took part in three categories namely Open section category A, Open section category B and Ladies section.
THE OPEN SECTION: CATEGORY A
The open section category A, attracted a total of 18 players with ratings above 1800 as an entry bar (click here to access the starting rank). After an intense battle of nine (9) rounds, Malawi’s favorite Joseph Mwale emerged the winner with a total of eight and half (8.5) points with eight (8) wins, one draw and zero losses.
He walked away with two hundred thousand Malawi Kwacha (MK200, 000.00), a branded Mdina chess gold medal and one of the most beautiful trophies the chess communities have ever seen leaving at most everyone in the audience admiring his success.
The silver medal was won by Wilton Calicoa from Mozambique after finishing with seven (7) points and here was a tie on the third place among three players who all had five and half (5.5) points.
After tie break separation Chiletso Chipanga from Malawi emerged third (3rd) scooping the bronze medal while Izdine Gafar from Mozambique emerged in fourth (4th) place and Kajani Kaunda from Malawi emerged in fifth (5th) place (Click here to access the final rank).
THE OPEN SECTION: CATEGORY B
The Open section category B had a total of 48 players with ratings below 1800 (click here to access the starting rank). With eight and a half (8.5) points Stanely Mpinganjira was crowned the winner of the open section category B, he walked away with eighty thousand Malawi Kwacha (MK80, 0000.00), a branded Mdina chess trophy and gold medal.
The silver medal was won by Stanley Kafere with eight (8) points while the bronze medal was won by John Mkumba with seven (7) points (Click here to access the final rank).
(Stanley Mpinganjira the winner of section B in action during one of his games)
The ladies section had a total of 20 players of which two (2) were from Mozambique, one (1) from Zambia and seventeen (17) from Malawi (click here to access the starting rank). The ladies section was won by Sheila Sitoe from Mozambique with seven and a half (7.5) points which included seven (7) wins, one (1) draw and one (1) loss. She walked away with one hundred and fifty thousand Malawi kwacha (MK150, 000.00), a branded Mdina Chess trophy and a gold medal. There was a tie on the second place among three players who all had six and a half (6.5) points.
After a tie break separation, the silver medal was won by WCM Constance Mbatha from Zambia while the bronze medal was awarded to Desiderata Nkhoma and Farnela Nuzela settled for the fourth (4th) place (Click here to access the final rank).
BRANDED PRIZES FOR THE TOP 10 WINNERS
The top ten (10) players in both Open section category A and category B also walked away with Mdina Chess branded jackets which are extremely awesome and indeed a gift the chess players will live to remember. The top four (4) ladies also walked away with the Mdina chess branded jackets while the rest of the ladies were given mdina chess branded blouse’s to shine their shine in them. The best junior players Yewo Sanga and Khwima Gondwe at the championship each also walked away with a Mdina Chess branded jacket. All participants were given Mdina chess branded key holders as a memoir for participating in the 9th edition of the Mdina Chess Championship.
POETRY RECITAL AT MDINA CHESS
During the closing ceremony, officials, chess players and invited guests had the pleasure to listen to one of the most amazing chess poetry. The poem entitled “This Poem” is an original, written and recited by Martin Mbendera, a student from Chancellor College and a chess player. He took his time to collect some of the interesting events that that happened during the three days Mdina Chess Championship. The first, fourth and fifth stanza of the poem reads:
This poem is a continuation of Mutabaruka`s “this poem”
This poem shall tell it all
This poem shall recite of the Mdina tournament
It shall welcome the visitors with warm hands of the e4 pawn
The biasness(sic) in this poem shall not be questioned
For this poem is gambits, is sacrifices
This poem is pain, joy
This poem shall take it from your reactions
It shall talk of those ambitious people who never succeeded
And the gambit you practiced
That the Fear squeezed you within broad daylight
It shall narrate of that Man from Mangochi who had had his hopes so high
The computer who drew 6 consecutive games in Section A
And the guy next to you who now thinks chess has never been his calling
This poem is like all the rest
This poem is long, shall not be short
This poem shall not be cut, shall not be tamed
This poem shall not tell the winner that he is the best for its obvious he is
This poem shall not talk about that mistake u wish u had undone
It shall not be mentioned in this poem that you perhaps didn’t train enough
For deep down u know u did
It shall not tell this audience the furnace burning fiercely beneath your heart
As the Winner grabs the trophy with an intimidating smile
This poem shall not tell you in advance what Makhosi will write in tomorrow’s papers
For this poem knows for certain that you may not like it
MDINA CHESS AWARDS
During the closing ceremony eight (8) individuals were honored by the sponsors of Mdina Chess for contributing positively to the uplifting of Malawi chess.
The awards came with a donation of twenty thousand Malawi Kwacha (MK20, 000.00) to each of the winners plus a certificate in the eight categories. Some of the awardees that shined included Mrs Susan Namangale, who is one of the presidential aspirants contesting in the 2018 Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) elections and if elected in office, Susan will become the first female president since the associations formation. Mr Alfred Chinthere popularly known as the Great Finisher in chess circles, Mark Ndipita the current vice chairperson of Central Region Chess League (CRCL), Eddie Kulesi secretary for CRCL, Martin Mbendera the poet, Desiderata Nkhoma and Makhosi Nyirenda who are also contributors on Africa Chess Media website and Fide International Arbiter Gilton Mkumbwa.
A WORD FROM THE SPONSORS
Representing the sponsor of Mdina Engineering at the Closing ceremony, Mr J. Chipofya said that it is everyone’s responsibility not the sponsor and Associations alone, to take chess to greater heights in Malawi and encouraged everyone to play a role. He continued to share the good news of the planned tenth (10th) series of the Mdina Chess Championship, promising that they will be back next year with a bang and that the winner will walk away with one Million Malawi kwacha (MK1, 000,000.00) cash guaranteed, news that left almost everyone in awe!
Surely Mdina chess championship has been one of the biggest and best open tournaments that Malawi chess has hosted for a consecutive nine (9) years. Mdina chess has continued to deliver to the best of expectations of many chess players both local and international which has contributed to a lot of them improving in their play styles, especially the ladies since the introduction of the ladies category in the year 2015 in the championship.
Through the championship many chess players have been born and many given a future in chess. Mdina chess has given a chance for geniuses to unfold in many people as most have given and dedicated there time to study chess to not only participate but also win the championship. Indeed Mdina chess has become a house hold name in Malawi and an international brand. Thank you Mdina, Mdina Engineering for the support to Malawi Chess.