The Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) has a hard choice to make in the forthcoming presidential elections at the International Chess Federation (Fide) this August.
On the one hand is current president Kirsan Ilumzhinov, but on the other is the former world champion Garry Kasparov.
Both presidential candidates, who will challenge each other during the 84th Fide Congress in Tallinn, Estonia sponsor school chess development programmes in Malawi.
Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa though insisted that they have enough time to make their choice. There is no deadline attached to member federations and the actual date of the elections is yet to be named.
“The incumbent has for the time being continued with schools programmes and his deputy Lewis Ncumbe has just visited us and pledged to fund our offices. We will wait and see the programmes that are sustainable. It is not really that we are in a tight corner. It is just that we have not come to the point of decision,” Msukwa noted.
When announcing his candidature, gunning for a new four-year term, Ilyumzhinov promised a hefty one million euro for the Chess In School Programme.
In turn, Kasparov last year visited many Fide member countries such as Malawi and even sponsored two chess players’ participation at an international championship in South Africa. A team from his Garry Kasparov Foundation also visited Malawi in December to monitor the schools’ chess programme in Zomba.
Chessam general secretary Leonard Sharra admitted that both candidates’ programmes were important to the growth of the sport “and we will have to sit down and decide who to vote for.”
Kasparov was the world Champion from 1985—when he dethroned Anatoly Karpov—to 1993 when he left Fide to form Professional Chess Association (PCA), thereby crossing paths with Ilyumzhinov who became Fide president in 1995.