Foreign-based chess stars have joined the bandwagon in advocating for the return of the Mdina Open Chess Championship.
The tournament, which was last played in 2018, was sponsored to the tune of K4 million by Mdina Engineering.
Zambian international master Chitumbo Mwali, who won the 2017 event, urged the sponsor to consider reintroducing the tournament as it was one of the most competitive in Southern Africa.
He said: “The tournament helped to improve the standards of the sport not only in Malawi, but also in neighbouring countries.
“It was so unique with attractive prizes. Things such as accommodation, food and transport were all taken care of. I wish the sponsor could reconsider his decision.
“What attracted me was the consistency of the tournament through sponsorship.”
His compatriot Dennis Mwape said: “Mdina events were massive and getting bigger on every occasion and it even attracted top players from Mozambique too.
“It was, therefore, unfortunate to hear the event was no more. We wish for its return. It really helped ratings of Malawian players and the strength.”
However, reacting to the calls, Tione Mdina, who was the sponsor of the tournament, said: “I’ve heard their concerns and I think I will meet some of the players individually after the lockdown to explain my situation properly.
“Chess players are my friends that I’ve been living with for the past 10 years and I even went to school with some of them, more than 20 years ago.
“I Hope the few that I will talk to will also help clarify to others about the reasons for my withdrawal,” he said.
Mdina said he has contacts for some international players “who indisputably love and enjoyed the tournament” and he will reach out to them as well.
He said: “I love chess, its a game that made me successful in life because it helps enhance thinking capacity. No one will stop me from commenting about chess, where there is need or if the media need any information. I only do it the betterment of the sport.”