Luanja wins Inaugural 2023 Mdina Chess Open

Fide Master Geoffrey Luanja is the winner of the inaugural 2023 Mdina Chess Open. The tournament had a record turnout of 136 players

In the open section. Luanja who lost his first game to his compatriot Lwenyeka Brian in round one never looked back as he destroyed his opposition from round two to round five. His winning streak was halted by Peter Nyama of Malawi who had a truce against the inform Luanja.

Luanja went on to win his last three games which ensured that he finished with 7.5 points out of the 9 games which they played. This tournament was held at National Institute of Public Administrators (NIPA) from the 5th of August to the 7th of August.  Fide Master Luanja was tied on the first position with International Master Gillian Bwalya popularly known as Captain Charlie and Fide Master Douglas Munenga. The trio scored 7.5 points out of 9 rounds played. Luanja captured the tourney based on his victories which were more than the later players. He was better on tie-break rules which were used. IM Bwalya and FM Munenga and Bwalya drew their round nine game. This left the players tied on the same position.

There was also another tie on position fourth position which included International Master Richmond Phiri who nearly ran away with the event’s title but his hopes were thwarted by his two losses which halted his victory. William Mwape, Candidate

Master Godwin Phiri and Michael Kaoma finishing on 7th place on tie-break rules. Maketo Nyambe finished eighth and led the other quartet namely: Timothy Kabwe who is popularly kniown as “Komodo”, Mushota Kantalamba, Innocent Mano and Patrick Chanda are the players who finished with 6.5 points out of the 9 games played.

There was a bunch of 16 players on 6 points and these included Siuluta who led the pack, Fide Master Nase Lungu, IM Kelvin Chumfwa who missed round one, International Arbiter Aaron Banda, Lemmy Chishala and Candidate Master James Dimba are the players who finished with 6 points.

Special prizes went to Aaron Banda and Sauti won the prizes for people with disabilities. These players mated some of their opponents and I remember some saying that Banda is also a strong chess player besides being an Arbiter.

The tournament also had the likes of Candidate Master Chiletso Chipanga of Malawi who failed to contain the pressure though at one time he caused a lot of trouble among the Zambians, but alas the dam was infested with some Zambian crocodiles which ensured that they swallowed our own Chiletso Chipanga. He tried to have some resilience but it was something else as he failed to finish in the top ten. This tournament brought players from three federations to come up together in tis tantalizing tournament of repute.

The Chief Arbiter for the event was FA Mary Mashane who was deputized by FA Victor Chimbamu of Zimbabwe and Mr Moses Kalapyiza of Zambia. International Organizer Linus Katebe organized the event with the assistance of the Lusaka Chess province Association LCPA chaired by

Mr Henry Njovu. , Mer Maybin Chinama and Vernon Phiri are some of the notable faces which ensured that this tournament was a success, not forgetting the sponsor Mdina who was represented by Makhosi Nyirenda who is popularly known as ‘Khisho’ in the chess circles.

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