Three chess national team players Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga, George Mwale and Daisy Nkhoma on Saturday saved Malawi’s face after securing draws against Russian Grandmaster (GM) Vasily Papin during simultaneous games at Country Club Limbe (CCL) in Blantyre.
But 20 other players, including Professor Cosmol Ngongondo, Frank Khonje, Precious Kamwendo, Stanley Mpinganjira, Overton Kanyinji, Mailosi Nsikiimodzi, Mike Msowoya, Ellen Mpinganjira, Tupokiwe Msukwa and Anne Simwawa, fell prey to the cryptic and bombarding moves of the 28-year-old Russian, who completed the three-and-a-half hour exhibition matches against 23 Malawians with a 21.5-1.5 triumph.
Junior players such as Yebo Sanga, Tafadzwa Linje, Brandon Agius, Lakishita and Dackshesh Dutt also received the dose of the Grandmasters bitter moves.
Nevertheless, Chipanga, Mwale and Nkhoma did not look down upon themselves against the giant; they could not allow Papin leave for Namibia yesterday without a scratch.
“It felt great to settle for a draw against a grandmaster. I will always remember this moment,” said Nkhoma.
Papin commended the Malawian players for putting up a gallant fight during the games.
“From what I have learned during the exhibition matches, Malawian players are courageous and thoughtful on the chess board. They have what it takes to go far in this mental sport and I encourage them to practise hard,” he said after the games.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) spokesperson Makhosi Nyirenda said the young GM was in the country for a week-long sojourn to train the Malawi national team players that are preparing for the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia between September 23 and October 6. He came courtesy of Gasprobank with assistance from Africa Chess lover Russian Arkady Dvorkovic.
The Malawi squad to World Chess Olympiad comprises Fide Master (FM) Gerald Mphungu, Chipanga, CM Joseph Mwale, George Mwale and Richard Chiona in the male section alongside females Women Fide Master (WFM) Linda Jambo, Nkhoma, Msukwa, Ellen Mpinganjira and Anne Simwawa. n