The Malawi national chess team leaves for the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia this Saturday and is confident of further improving their stand on Fide World Chess rankings.
During their last participation in 2016, Malawi moved three steps up on the rankings in both men and ladies’ categories despite missing the competition’s first two rounds due to flight delays. Currently, the men’s side is ranked 123 out of 178 countries while the ladies’ outfit is 134 out of 146 countries.
“After undergoing a specialised two-week training camp in Blantyre in August by Russian Grandmaster Vasily Papin, I do not see why we should not enhance our ranking by a bigger margin,” said Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga, who is going to the Olympiad for a record sixth consecutive time since his debut appearance in 2008.
The men’s team comprises Fide Master (FM) Gerald Mphungu, Candidate Master (CM) Joseph Mwale, Chipanga, George Mwale, Richard Chiona and CM Joseph Chalemba (captain) while the ladies’ squad has Women Fide Master (WFM) Linda Jambo-Chaononga, Desiderata Nkhoma, Ellen Mpinganjira, Annie Simwaba and Magret Ngugama (captain).
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) spokesperson Alfred Chimthere yesterday said Tupokiwe Msukwa has withdrawn from the ladies’ squad after Chancellor College (Chanco), where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree, refused her permission to travel.
He said South Africa-based Joseph Mwale will fly from his base and connect with the rest of the squad, which also has officials Chessam president Susan Namangale and her predecessor Kezzie Msukwa, in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
Simwaba, George Mwale and Chiona will be participating in their maiden Olympiad while the rest already have the experience of playing at the prestigious international event, which will run from September 23 to October 10.
The World Chess Olympiad is the most prestigious Chess event on the Fide (World Chess Federation) calendar. It takes place every two years. The last one was held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016.