Wednesday, January 9, 2008

African Junior Chess Championships

From The Malawi Daily Times Egyptian, South African win Africa junior chess BY Mphatso Malidadi 12:05:21 - 08 January 2008 Egyptian top seed Kareim Wagein and South African Wiid Darleen on Sunday won this year’s Africa junior chess champions in boys and girls respectively during the week-long event that was staged at the elite Kamuzu Academy. Wagein, who accumulated 7.5 points, and Darleen were rewarded with international master title status. South African Calvin Klaasen finished as Wagein’s runner-up with 6.5 points while his compatriot Ryan Van Rensburg came third with 5.5 points. In the girls category, Carmen De Jarger emerged second while Rocha Valquiria was third. However, the three Malawian flag carriers failed to make it into the top three positions in the open category which saw South African girl Melisa Greef taking part in the boys group. Despite failing to make it into top three, the country’s ambassadors showed they had made strides in the competition as they occupied better positions unlike in the previous competitions where they had ended at the bottom. Chuma Mwale finished eighth with five points, national junior champion Chiletso Chipanga came 11th, national champion Joseph Mwale came 14th in the event that had 23 participants. It was not pleasant news for Malawi in girls’ category, which showed the country had work cut out for it to be on the same level with other countries. Junior ladies champion Ellyn Mpinganjira was 9th with Linda Jambo finishing 11th in the event which attracted 13 girls. Chess Association of Malawi vice-president Mark Chikoko said the event was a success and it revealed that the country was moving towards the right direction in the development of the sport. Chikoko noted that previously Malawians used to be table anchors but in this years championship the countries representatives squeezed themselves to better positions. “This championship has proved that Malawi has made tremendous progress. Hopefully we will continue to improve so that our players should also win the championship,” he said. Chessam publicity secretary Gilton Mkumbwa, while admitting that the championship was tough for Malawi, nevertheless, paid tribute to the players for putting up gallant fight against their well exposed counterparts. “Our players really fought very well,” he said. “They were never intimidated by their foreign counterparts who boast of international exposure. “One of the South African female players [Melisa Greef] is an international master title holder and opted to participate in the open group which was dominated by boys because she wanted to face tough opposition. “We congratulate our players for showing signs of progress. They need to participate in more championships to develop their skills rapidly,” he said. World Chess Federation (FIDE) vice-president Lewis Ncube graced the occasion.

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