Jalasi Matiyasi captured Southern Region honours with unbeaten run during the qualifiers of the National Draughts Championships at Sports Council in Blantyre on Saturday.
Even the defending national champion Ganizani Majawa could not stand the heat of the rising star who emerged as runner-up during the Blantyre District finals a fortnight ago. Matiyasi drove to the top of the leader board with insurmountable 28 points from 12 wins and four draws.
“For certain, this is the best performance of my career,” said Matiyasi. “It was quite amazing for me to beat probably the best draughts players on the land,” said Matiyasi.
However, nothing could be predicted until a 10th round of the 16-round event. No less than six players were in contention for the first place, but Matiyasi made head way after his closest contenders Majawa (24 points), Dickson Geremu (22 points), Aaron Kayuni (22), Chikondi Matope (21 points) and Layson ‘Anko Layi’ Njati (20 points)—who finished within the top-six bracket in that order— flopped in that particular round.
Despite all the top-six players plus Zalimba Chiingeni, Ezara Kaphirikwete, Victor Nundwe and Levison Simba, who completed the top-10 list, have qualified for the national finals slated for March in Blantyre.
According to Association of Draughts in Malawi (Adma) general secretary Suzgo Nkhoma, the Central Region will have their national qualifiers on February 8 at Kawale in Lilongwe while the North will do it on February 9 at National Achievers Hall in Mzuzu.
Adma president Mischeck Munthali said they used their K1 million (about $2 500) subvention from the Sports Council to conduct the competition.