The inaugural National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc sponsored online chess tournament took place at the weekend and lured an unprecedented 166 participants.
Played online on lichess platform as part of the MK3.6 million sponsorship by NBM plc, the tournament was split into four categories namely: First Timers, Juniors, College students and Open section for males and females.
In the First Timers category, newcomer Precious Thebe from Mzuzu reigned supreme on 8.5 points, followed by Melisa Kwakwala from Mzuzu International Academy who scored 8 points followed by Joshua Bulaula with 7.5 points, Lumbani Mwalwanda with 7.5 points and Owen Chimberenga scored 6 points. Faith Kamanga was the best performing girl in the First Timers category.
Thebe received an Itel tablet as a top prize while the rest of the winners got book vouchers and data bundles for their exploits to emphasize CHESS as a tool for education. Other prizes generally included Cash and chess sets to the winners.
In the Juniors Category, ladies junior National champion Priyasha Shriyan of Bishop Mackenzie Primary School was the best followed by Rafik Waliyala and Praise Kalambo on second and third positions respectively. All the three scooped 8 points apiece but were separated using a bucholz tie-breaking system.
The honours list in the Juniors Section was completed by Martin Shaba and Dakshesh Dutt on 7.5 and 7 points respectively.
In the College students category, former Confederation of Universities in Central and Southern Africa (CUCSA) 2018 representative, 3rd year student Tumbikani Munthali of College of Medicine, triumphed on 11 points. He was trailed by Mzuzu University student Ronald Chimkute on 8 points. The next three players on 7.5 points were Martin Mbendera, Andrew Kaliba and Thandizo Chunga.
The outstanding girls in the College category were Tamala Kaliwo, Charity Tadeyo, Lakshitta Dutt, Catherine Gumpo, Elizabeth Biziwek and Carol Trapence.
In the open section, the unexpected happened as another former 2014 CUCSA representative, Hubert Nanthambwe an employee at Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI), defied the odds to claim the bragging rights ahead of tourney favourites, Fide Master Joseph Mwale and Previous Kamwendo.
Nanthambwe, using his unfamiliar lichess account named 'IneNdimaMenya' which means 'I beat', accumulated 10 points, followed by FM Mwale on 9.5 points while Kamwendo got 9 points. Dave Mawango was on 8 points and Emmanuel Kalua scored 7.5 points to complete the prize list in the open category.
The Ladies honors were split to Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Ellen Mpinganjira, Desiderata Nkhoma, Susan Namangale, Tapiwa Banda and Woman Fide Master (WFM) Linda Chaononga, in that order.
The First Timers category attracted 39 participants, juniors had 29, and College students had 43, while 55 players competed in the Open section translating to a grand 166 participants. Mzuzu International Academy and Karibu Academy registered a high number of students Chess players.
Chessam President Susan Namangale has hailed the National Bank support, indicating that it will go a long way in promoting chess in the country, especially using Chess as a tool for education.
"Chess Association of Malawi appreciates the support from National Bank to support us and engage Chess players mainly to develop Chess at the grassroots level. We look forward to continued partnership. We are very grateful to NBM plc for sponsoring this successful online Chess tournament," said Namangale.
NBM plc Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager Akossa Hiwa said the bank partnered with Chessam to push the Chess agenda in Malawi since the sport is a strategic game that helps players to think critically in making the right moves.
"That is why we have pumped K3.6 million in this tournament because we want to develop Chess and use it as a tool for education. We are impressed with the games so far," said Hiwa.