Petros Mfune began the title defence of the Paul-Mike Chess Tournament on an impressive note last weekend when he outclassed Candidate Master Chiletso Chipanga during the first four games of their epic 12-game final.
Mfune put home ground advantage to good use at CrossRoads Hotel in Lilongwe when he confined his Zomba-based challenger to a 2.5-1.5 triumph.
There are eight games remaining before the ultimate winner of the K130 000 ($2 600) first prize is determined.
At this stage last year, Mfune led 2-1 before eventually dethroning the inaugural champion Chipanga with 7.5-4.5 thumping at the end of the 12-game final.
“I will leave no stone unturned in my bid to jealously defend the crown and my reputation. I will engage an extra-gear in my preparations for the next round of the final considering that I will be playing away in Zomba, where he enjoys home support,” said Mfune.
On his part, Chipanga, who is famous for his gambling tactics, said he is more than ready to overturn the tables and “take back what belongs to me”.
“I will make that Mfune blunt in Zomba. I will not allow him to humiliate me in front of my home crowd. He should get ready to be inflicted with a whitewash; I will get into the next games with all guns blazing,” Chipanga said.
The competition, which is sponsored by chess fanatics Paul Nyirenda and Mike Mshali to the tune of K600 000 ($1 200), is expected to wind up in two weeks.