The Malawi team won a third match in six encounters at the ongoing World Chess Olympiad at the Istanbul Expo Centre in Turkey on Monday. They beat Malta 2.5-1.5.
The win has given the five-player Malawi squad hope of finishing among the top 20 teams at the 158-team contest if they win their last three matches. As we went to press the Malawi was facing Paraguay, which has two grand masters.
According to Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicist Gilton Mkumbwa, wins by Richard Mbedza, Chiletso Chipanga and Paul Khuphwatheyaâ€™s draw contributed to Malawiâ€™s triumph over Malta.
However, Joseph Nyambalo stained his five-match unbeaten record when he went down to Maltaâ€™s candidate master Patrick Zerafa. Nyambalo who has three wins and two draws is among the best 100 performers at the contest that has over 1 000 players.
â€œSo far, so good,â€ said Mkumbwa. â€œWe will finish among the top 20 teams if we win our last three matches and we are hopeful that we will make it.â€
But he warned that it will be tough for Malawi to achieve this feat if they continue losing endgame opportunities.
â€œDuring the Malawi vs Malta game, Khuphwatheya drew a game which he could have easily won. He had an advantage of a knight, but he messed it up. We need to improve in this area,â€ said Mkumbwa.
Meanwhile, Chessam treasurer Paul Nyirenda has promised to give K200 000 (about $800) to the Malawian who will earn the rank of grand master at the event. He said those that will be ranked as international master, Fide master and candidate master will get K50 000 (about $200), K15 000 (about $60) and K5 000 (about $20) respectively.