Malawi’s hopes of plucking the grandmaster title at the ongoing Africa Individual Chess Championships suffered a big blow on Sunday when Africa Chess Federation (ACF) disqualified three of the country’s four representatives for boycotting games.
Malawi’s highest rated player Joseph Nyambalo boycotted the games alongside Joseph Mwale and Vitumbiko Gondwe in protest against Chess Association of Malawi’s (Chessam) delay to give them their allowances amounting to K106 000 (about $212) each.
According to Chessam publicist Makhosi Nyirenda, this happened after each of the three ambassadors had played six of the competition’s nine rounds. Then, Mwale had accumulated 3.5 points while Nyambalo and Gondwe had 2.5 points and a single point apiece.
However, the squad’s captain Alfred Chimthere is proceeding with his games and had four points as he entered the seventh round yesterday.
Before the disqualification, Mwale wrote on Facebook page, Play Chess Malawi: “This is to serve as notice to all involved. The team in Namibia has decided to boycott games starting from tomorrow (Sunday) because we got nothing for winning the qualifiers. We were told that was done to facilitate our easy travelling. However, up to now we have not received our allowances and this is not a new song from Chessam.”
But Nyirenda said they could not give the players their allowances on time because they were waiting for the money they obtained from Sports Council to go through the maturing processes in the banks.
“It is quite unfortunate that we have drastically reduced our chances of producing a grandmaster due to the boycott. We notified our players about the situation we were in, but they could not listen. Now, we are reaping the bitter fruits,” said Nyirenda.