The inaugural S&S Genius Schools Chess Tournament ended in straight victories for eventual winners of the four-category contest at St Andrew’s International High School in Blantyre on Saturday.
Chisomo Sumani of James Chiona High School and Tamara Mdala of Chiradzulu Secondary School won all their matches to claim ultimate glory in senior boys and senior girls’ categories, in that order, while Zaithwa Mwale of Blantyre Baptist Academy and Alipo Primary School’s Daisy Huwa did it in their respective junior boys and junior girls’ sections.
About 100 pupils from various primary and secondary schools within the Southern Region Chess League (SRCL), including 44 girls, contested in the tournament. Each winner took home a chess set and a trophy while others within the top-three bracket got chess sets and medals.
Sumani collected insurmountable six points to outclass 39 contestants in his category, including his school-mates Quincy Mukhwapa and Tafadzwa Linje, who tied on 4.5 points but finished second and third correspondingly after a Buccholz tie-breaking system separated them.
Mdala amassed the maximum five points in the 30-contestant category as Tinashe Jumbe of Kalibu Academy and Faith Gondwe of Joyce Banda Foundation took silver and bronze with 4.5 points and four points, in that order.
The junior boys’ category had 14 competitors and Mwale topped the list with six points, a point ahead of his runner-up and school-mate John Phiri and two points in front of third-placed Geoffrey Qongwane of Manja Primary School.
Huwa also outsmarted the same number of contestants when she triumphed in all the five-rounds as her runner-up Chelsea Mpinganjira and third-placed Ronia Drennon (Blantyre Baptist Academy) tied on four points.
“This is my first time to win a schools’ tournament and I feel happy to have done it without losing any game,” Huwa said.
Former SRCL chairperson Susan Namangale, who jointly bankrolled the K300 000 competition with fiction writer Stanley Onjezani Kenani, said she was impressed with the performance of the pupils and promised continued support.
“We will be back bigger and better next year. But before that, we will hold a similar event in the Northern Region in April this year,” she said.
SRCL chairperson Wasoka Chirwa, who was accompanied by Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) spokesperson Makhosi Nyirenda and Blantyre Urban sports officer John Chiutsi, thanked the sponsors for showing commitment to the development of the mental sport.