By Donata Mpochela
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi’s chess champion, Joseph Mwale is undergoing a junior online chess tournament aimed at gaining skills for coaching players in Malawi and South Africa to play, compete and challenge each other during the stay at home period due to the Coronavirus.
Mwale, who is a South African based player, said the online chess tournament is planned totrain kids and keep them busy during the coronavirus lockdown.
“Due to the lockdown, I came up with a plan to keep kids busy by introducing online chess tournaments which are played over the weekends and I also coach them to play and compete.”
“This coaching is very vital because it keeps kids busy in this period of stay at home as they play by competing for positions which motivate them to train and prepare during free time knowing that there is a competition ahead to win,” explained Mwale.
Junior online tournament begun some three weeks ago and so far has over 20 participantsbeing hosted on Lichess App.
“Tournaments are congregated on Lichess App which is the best platform for playing chess, all kids are advised to have the App or I share with them the links and with time games begins,” he said.
Mwale further said the junior chess arena project has no prize but they are hoping to get some sponsors to make it bigger.
“This project has no prizes as one may think but we are hoping to get some sponsors to make the tournaments bigger as it is just one of my many big projects to come in terms of junior chess.
“I have been a chess national champion from the age of 12 as I played a lot at my junior stage, so through my experience I know how to motivate and work with juniors,” Mwale said.
As of his performance he said his taking this lockdown as a camp for working.
“About my chess, I am taking this lockdown as a camp, probably [for the] first time I am putting a lot of work efforts. Surely after the lockdown I will be in great shape to win tournaments and become an international master soon,” Mwale said.
So far, Gabriel Amroumi from South Africa has won the first two games, PriyashaSantoshShriyan from Malawi won the third, and ThategoLefyedi an Under-16 S.A. team playerwon the last game.
In a separate interview with 14-year-old, PriyashaSantoshShriyan said chess is important as it helps in improving a child’s mental health.
“I feel like chess is important for our future generation. This is because chess constantly helps with improving a child’s concentration, critical thinking, strategic thinking and creative thinking.
“Chess is an extremely beneficial game to play while at home due to the Covid-19 because playing chess results in better brain function as it helps in improving a child’s mental health,” Shriyaan said.
Shriyaan encouraged all other children to participate in many chess tournaments because they lead to new beginnings.
“Chess opens up a lot of opportunities to play with players throughout the world as this leads to exposure and learn new skills,” she observed.
She then quoted Anatoly Karpovwho said: “Chess is not always about winning, sometimes it’s about learning and so is life.
“If chess keeps growing amongst people throughout the world, it will lead to a more positive environment,” added Shriyan.
Last Sunday’s rounds of games for the fifth tournament were won by a Female from Durban, AphiweZikalala with a record of 58 points while Malawian Dakshesh was third with 34 points.