Official sponsors of Malawi Chess Open, Mdina Engineering have quadrupled the cash prize for the champion of the tournament in 2019.
Next year’s champion will pocket K1 million cash.
Consequently, cash prizes for the other two podium finishers will inevitably increase.
A development that is widely expected to lead to the drastic rise in the number of both local and foreign competitors.
Jeka Chipofya who is Managing Partner of Mdina Engineering, a South Africa based Malawian owned construction firm made the announcement at the crowning ceremony of this year’s tournament held at the College of Medicine Sports Complex in the commercial city, Blantyre.
The 2019 edition of the international competition will also be the 10th and final season of sponsorship by Mdina Engineering.
Chipofya assures players and fans alike that the company’s final sponsorship package does not mean that it has entirely abandoned its long-standing CSR towards chess in Malawi.
He stresses that the firm will ensure that in the transition period the organisers, Chess Association of Malawi are able to secure sponsorship and partners to continue staging the annual tournament.
The 2018 Malawi Open Champion, Joseph Mwale took to Pretoria a cash prize of K250, 000 in a tough top finish ahead of strong competitors from neighbouring Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mwale’s hard earned victory also won Malawi the regional tournament for the first time in three seasons.
The South Africa based Malawian won the open section with 8.5 points out of nine rounds.
Winston Katikona of Mozambique was second followed by Mwale’s compatriot Chiletso Chipanga, who won the international tournament in 2012.
Chipanga’s finish did not mirror his standing as the reigning Africa Amateur champion, a feat that earned him a place at the world version of the competition in Italy where he represented the continent.
With 7.5 points, Steila Stoyi finished top in the ladies category. The Mozambican was followed by Costance Mbatha of Zambia. Malawian player, Thezrata Nkhoma finished third.
Malawian players took the top three spots in Section B.
This is the section that featured players who have an international rating of points below 1800.
Stanley Mpinganjira scooped the top spot in the category. He was ahead of Stanley Kafere and John Nkumba in that order.
Yebo Sanga is the winner of the Junior Sportsman of the year accolade in the inaugural Malawi National Sports Awards held this year.
He was recognised as the best junior player of the 9th edition of the Malawi Open.
4.5 points earned Sanga the top spot ahead of his compatriot Allen Namangale, who finished half a point behind.