Malawi’s fide master (FM) Joseph Mwale says he is motivated after causing an upset in Africa Individual Chess Championship in Lilongwe by beating Algerian grandmaster (GM) Bellahcene Bilel on Monday.
Playing on board three, the South Africa-based Malawian was determined to withstand his highly rated opponent.
“I am really happy to take down a grandmaster. It is much sweeter, especially on home soil with all the supporters around and watching. I am encouraged and motivated to achieve more results in the remaining three games,” said Mwale.
The win comes after another victory over highly rated Gillian Bwalya of Zambia.
The win against Bilel made Mwale among top contenders after Egyptians GM Adly and GM Bassem’s game ended in a draw.
Another competitive game between Egyptian GM Fawzy Adham and international fide master (IFM)Antenaina Rakotomaharo of Madagascar also ended in a draw.
With the round six results, Mwale, GM Adly, GM Bassem and IM Rakotomaro, are leading the tournament with five points each.
Zambian players had mixed fortunates after international master (IM) Chitumbo Mwali lost to fide master (FM) Patrick Kawuma of Uganda while FM Banele Mhango beat FM Abdulraheem Abdulrahman Akintoye of Nigeria.
Zambian Lorita Mawango leads in the women’s category with five points after beating Nigerian woman FM Ogbiyoyo Perpetual Eloho.
She is followed by Algerian Nassr Lina, Jesse February of South Africa and Zimbabwean Kudzanayi Charinda at 4.5 points.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale was over the moon following Mwale’s exploits, saying it heralds a new era for Malawi chess.
“I am very excited about this win. Everyone I have talked to is excited. This is history, it’s rare for someone of Joseph’s ranking to beat a grandmaster. I truly cannot express just how happy I am. My team has made me proud,” she said.
Analyst and chess veteran Leonard Sharra said after the victory over the Algerian GM, Mwale will be promoted to a higher rank.
“Mwale has achieved beyond the expectations of all Malawian chess followers by first beating an international master who is a step above his title then a grandmaster, which is the highest title in the game of chess.
“With these achievements, he is likely to attain the title of international master or even a grandmaster, depending on his performance in the remaining rounds,” he said.