South Africa-based Malawi’s Fide Master (FM) Joseph Mwale is the inaugural Africa Individual Online Chess champion after outsmarting a 1 377-strongfield to become the second Malawian to win a continental chess title.
His compatriot Chiletso Chipanga triumphed in the Africa Amateur Chess Championship two years ago.
Mwale scored 64 points from 21 games and tied on points with South African Candidate Master (CM) Keith Khumalo, who played 29 games.
However, Mwale, whose standard International Chess Federation (Fide) rating is 2 159, took the ultimate glory on better performance rating of 2 479 against Khumalo’s 2 442.
His win-rate was 76 percent against Khumalo’s 62.
Nigerian International Master (IM) Odion Aikhonje finished third on 60 points from 20 games.
Mwale’s compatriots Leonard M’bwana and Precious Kamwendo settled for positions 33 and 44, in that order. Peter Jailosi, George Mwale and Priyasha Shryan were the other Malawians that contested but did not do well.
This is the first time 27-year-old Mwale has won a continental title.
“It feels great to win the first ever Africa Online Chess Tournament, which was well organised,” the country’s highest-rated chess player said.
Mwale’s continental glory comes barely two weeks after his triumph in the inaugural MyBucks Bank Online National Blitz Tournament.
Africa Chess Federation (ACF) organised the online contest as a trial tournament in the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and is set to make it its calendar event.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) spokesperson Alfred Chimthere yesterday said Mwale’s victory has made the country proud.
He said: “Having our own player winning the inaugural continental online tournament is a big motivation for Malawian players.
“With this outstanding performance that saw Mwale outclassing some of Africa’s top players, we have no doubt that his status will soon be upgraded from FM to IM.”