After failing to make a mark at the Africa Junior Chess Championships in Angola last year, local junior players have opportunity to clear the country’s name at the continental showpiece this December in Lusaka, Zambia.
But to earn the tickets, they first have to go through a sieving process at Illala Crest Lodge in Mzuzu, Kamuzu Institute for Sports (KIS) in Lilongwe and St. Andrew’s International High School in Blantyre on November 7 before battling it out during the national qualifiers on November 14, according to Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicist Makhosi Nyirenda.
“We do have enough time to identify national flag carriers. All chess players between the ages of six and 17 should get set for the qualifiers as the contest will be open for under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 categories for both boys and girls,” Nyirenda said.
He added that Chessam has planned to send a bigger contingent to the international competition as the event will take place in a neighboring country.
Adrian Mhango, who recently won Fide Scholarship to pursue a sociology degree with chess specialisation in Russia, and Ulemu Mbewe were the country’s ambassadors in Angola, where they finished among the last six.
“It is our wish to send representatives in each of the age categories. This means we will involve both secondary and primary school pupils in the qualifiers,” he said.
He added that juniors that will progress into the national finals will go through a thorough intensive training to stand the heat on the international stage.
The Africa Junior Chess Championships attracts players from the continent’s chess power houses such as Egypt, Tunisia, Zambia and South Africa. n