With only geniuses left in the national team qualifiers of the chess team to represent Malawi in the Olympiad tournament in Norway, senior chess analyst, Edwin Chulu, has described the competition level as “stiff and unpredictable”.
“We only have the country’s creamiest of chess geniuses and it would be risky for you to put your money on any of them because the qualifiers have reached an any-man’s-game stage,” said Chulu in an interview.
Malawi is expected to send a team of 11 players; six men and five ladies to the city of Tromso in Norway for the biennial world chess tournament organised by the International Chess Federation (FIDE).
Five players from the North, Central and Southern regions have qualified for the final stage of the qualifiers from which the best six will be identified in the tournament to be played on a date soon to be announced.
Amongst the 15 country-wide qualifiers is the Malawi Poly Technique student Gerald Mphungu who is 2-time national champion and the defending champion of the 2013 Presidential Initiative on Sports and Mdina annual national chess tournament.
Also in the race is chess veteran Alfred Chimthere who recently won the Mazda Chess Tournament which was played in Blantyre after amassing 5.5 points in a 6-round tourney.
However, Chulu pointed out that veterans such as Fiskani Mwagomba and Innocent Salanjila from the north, and Petros Mfune from the centre who have represented the country in international tournaments before were also forces to be underestimated at one’s own risk.
The analyst also recognized the skills of names such as northern region’s Wilson Chingati who is number one contender of the Paul and Mike tournament from the north after he had emerged on top in the qualifying games of this tournament to be played in Lilongwe on a date yet to be announced.
Summing up his analysis, Chulu said the best would be to “just cross your arms and watch because the final qualifiers promise to be one of the most interesting chess tourneys ever.”
The 2014 World Chess Olympiad tournament is scheduled for 1 to 14 August, 2014.