Malawi chess gladiator Joseph Mwale on Saturday finished fifth position during the 141-contestant South Africa Open Chess Championship at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town.
The tournament attracted a Grandmaster (GM), five International Masters (IMs), three Women International Masters (WIMs), seven Fide Masters (FM), three Women Fide Masters (WFMs) and seven Candidate Masters (CMs), but the former national champion did not feel out of place; completing his 11 games without a loss.
He accumulated eight points that comprised five wins and six draws, including against eventual champion 55-year-old Serbian GM Strikovic Aleksa (9.5 points) and South African IMs Kobese Watu and Daniel Crawdry, who tied on 8.5 points but finished second and third respectively after being separated by a tie breaker.
“South Africa Open is one of the toughest competitions in Africa and finishing on position five without a loss is no mean achievement,” said Mwale, who had a starting rank of 14 in the competition.
However, the going seemed tough for another South Africa-based CM Richard Mbedza.
He had a starting ranking of 29 but he ended up taking position 34 with six points from five wins, three draws and three losses.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) publicist Makhosi Nyirenda praised Mwale for putting Malawi on the international map.
Participants came from Serbia, South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.