Mpala wins U1700 Gold Medal in Namibia

Leeroy Mpala of Zimbabwe won the just ended u1700 rating tournament section held in Namibia recently which ended on the 6th of January 7, 2019.

On paper, the young man did not even have a chance of making it as he had no rating at all playing against the already seasoned and rated opponents. It was necessary to play and prove himself in this field infested with rated players. He was one of the 6 unrated players and battled it out against the thirteen rated players. He started at a very high note when he won all his five games commanding a lead which was almost difficult to catch up with as he was the sole leader until round six when he lost when people thought that he was to finish with a perfect score. This loss brought his archrival closer who was a point behind.

He, however, lost one game and drew one game finishing with 7.5 points coming out joint first but being the winner on tie-break rules. He won the rights to represent Africa at the World Amateurs’ to be held in Mexico. Leeroy is the official player in the u1700 category after securing a spot to represent Africa with his fine win. Leeroy becomes the second player in a successive year to represent Zimbabwe after Lawrence Tavagwisa who won a gold medal at the tournament which was held in Zambia powered his way to a credible gold medal. Tavagwisa represented Zimbabwe well at the Amateurs in Italy and he won a silver medal at the highest stage in the u2000 category.

Leeroy is a product of the Willineta School of chess under the guidance of Wilfred Sithole. The school of chess is based in Midlands and it is the first gold medal which a player from the academy which a player won in an international tournament. The player seemed to have gained some confidence from the African Schools Chess Individuals championships which were hosted in Harare, in 2017 at Rainbow Towers, and recently the International Junior chess tourney which was hosted by Limitless Minds Chess Academy under the auspices of FA Keneese Katisenge as well as the Botswana Chess Federation and the Olympic Committee who also came in support of the academy to ensure that a very fruitful tournament was hosted by Botswana.

The tournament was a springboard for the young man to showcase his talent with other U1700 rated chess players as they exchange their tactics as well as chess prowess in the tournament of a higher magnitude. Attached are some games and photos of the young man. He won seven games, drew one, and lost one game to come up with a 7.5 points score out of the 9 games.

This was a commendable effort from the young man. It is another milestone achievement for Zimbabwe chess as the players are proving to the world that something positive will brew as we progress. The academies are proving to be powerful in the moulding of chess powerhouses.

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