Mdina Business Solution has announced that the 10th edition of the annual Mdina Open Individual Chess Championship next year will be the last.
But despite the sad news, the South Africa-based firm’s representative Jeka Chipofya said that the winner in the open A-category will take home a cool K1 million; four times more than the current prize.
“We are happy with how the 2018 edition was organised and we will come back bigger and better next year as the winner will receive K1 million prize. I must also say that the 2019 edition will be the last of Mdina sponsorship,” he said without explaining the reasons for bowing out.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Kezzie Msukwa has described Mdina’s exit as a big blow to chess development in the country.
“Mdina has been the engine of chess development in the country and the end of its support will have a negative impact on the mental sport. We hope the announcement that the 2019 edition will be the last is only meant to push us to be more serious in our organisation,” he said.
Malawi’s highest-rated chess gladiator Joseph Mwale, who won the ninth edition in the A category at College of Medicine (CoM) in Blantyre last weekend, has also pleaded with the sponsor to keep the competition alive.
South Africa-based business person Tiwone Mdina has been bankrolling the competition through his company since 2010.
Kajani Kaunda was the inaugural champion in 2010 before Edgar Khan, Candidate Master (CM) Chiletso Chipanga, Fide Master (FM) Gerald Mphungu, Peter Jailosi and CM Petros Mfune won the subsequent events. Zambians CM Godwin Phiri and International Master (IM) Chitumbo Mwali won the previous two tournaments after the contest was opened to foreign players in 2016.