Alfred Chimthere gets into the K500 000 (US$1229) Paul-Mike Individual Chess Championships this weekend with a mission to qualify for the ultimate 12-game final against defending champion Chiletso Chipanga and repair his battered image.
During the national encounters at Don Bosco in Lilongwe, candidate master Chimthere will face regional champions Richard Chiona (South), George Mwale (Centre) and Wilson Chingati (North), alongside seeded players Joseph Nyambalo and Petros Mfune.
Chimthere’s determination follows the torment he suffered after losing 5.5-6.5 to Chipanga during the inaugural national finals last year. Then, he had been the favourite to win the contest until he lost grip in the last two games.
Only the winner of this weekend’s national encounters will make it to the one-on-one 12-match final against Chipanga.
“I know this weekend I will face very tough opponents who might be my stumbling blocks. However, my mind is already on the finals; thinking about the strategy I will use to defeat Chiletso [Chipanga],” said Chimthere.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicist Gilton Mkumbwa confirmed the start of the tournament this weekend.
“The games will be played using the double round-robin format, which will see each individual playing twice against his opponents (using white and later black pieces). The first-round robin starts this weekend and the second-one will finish next week,” Mkumbwa said.
Meanwhile, Paul-Mike Chess Tournament has become the country’s second chess tournament to be rated by the mental sport’s world governing body, Fide. Mdina Chess Championships became the first to be rated last year.