CHESSAM: The rebirth of marginalized chess players

At exactly 1300 hours on Thursday, September 20, 2018, the smiles and hugs were vivid for all to see despite the scorching sunny weather in Lilongwe’s peri-urban area of Mtandile.

A 22-year-old Dalitso Mwale has been crowned the chess king of Mtandile in the final rankings after outwitting Malachi Masina in a pulsating queen endgame, played at Tingathe Youth Centre.

Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) President Susan Namangale in a message delegated to the Association’s publicist Alfred Chimthere, lauded the initiative by Tingathe in mobilizing marginalized chess players and pledged unflinching support.

The tournament which was championed by Albert Ferguson, an American missionary from Florida, United States of America, attracted 11 players and was played on a knock-out format.

“Chess kept me from getting into trouble as a teen. I enjoy teaching the game to youngsters to help them develop their critical thinking skills” said Ferguson, who spends nearly ten hours per week teaching chess at Tingathe centre.

Mwale grabbed a gold medal and a chessboard for emerging victorious. The runner-up Masina received a silver medal and a chessboard. Two more players, Gerald James and a lady Yasmin Nalumo shared third and fourth slots respectively. They went away with a bronze medal and a chessboard apiece, courtesy of Ferguson. Namangale also donated two chess sets to the centre.

“Tingathe” is a Chichewa word which translates to “We can” in English.
The centre equip the Youth who were unable to complete secondary school or have completed secondary school but are unemployed with marketable skills to start enterprises or find employment and thrive in the employment market.

Founded in 2016 by a Malawian Sarah Lindeire, it has engaged over 160 youth between the ages of 18 and 30 who have limited access to alternative livelihood opportunities. It has also worked with 20 community chiefs to engage more young people in community development.

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