ZAMBIAN Gillian Bwalya and Zimbabwe’s Kudzanayi Charinda were crowned the 2022 Minerva Chess Open Tournament men’s and women’s champions at a four-day competition whose curtain came down at Joina City on Monday evening.
Bwalya, an International Master, managed to accumulate 7,5 points to pocket US$1 000 and was ahead of Zimbabwe’s Roy Mwadzura who came second with seven points.
The Zambian, who was playing in Europe recently, said he was happy to have won the tournament which was very competitive.
“I was lucky to have won the competition after I last visited Zimbabwe three years ago. I had some tough games as the level of competition has improved immensely. There is great improvement and I hope it is also going to reflect on the ratings. I was very happy after coming out victorious in most of my games as Rodwell Makoto, who is also an International Master, gave me a good run.
“My next target is to become a regional champion and I am going to work hard for that,” said Bwalya.
Charinda, who pocketed US$800, said she was happy to lift the women’s title ahead of Dalitso Linda Shaba who was second.
The former national team player is hoping to keep on improving and represent the country in India later this year.
“I am very happy with my performance over the past four days. I am glad that I managed to win as the competition was very tough. There is great improvement in the sport as women representative numbers have improved a lot.
“My wish is to have the sport get more female participants,” said Charinda.
Highest ranked Zimbabwean, Makoto, was third in the men’s section on 6,5 points as another Zambian, William Mwape, was fourth with Vitalis Mapuranga completing the top five. The women category had Christine Makwena in third place as Rafiloe Mudodo and Mozambique’s Sitoe Chiela Andre were fourth and fifth respectively.
The tournament, marking its second year after the Covid-19, was regarded as a success with Freida Chapfika, the Minerva marketing and public relations manager, saying they hope to come back next year.
“After we hosted the first tournament in December we were impressed and the 2022 edition was even more better in terms of numbers and organisation.
“We are proud and at the same time humbled to be associated with this sport, which has seen a resurgence after the Covid-19 period of the last three years. Our vision as Minerva is for players to realise their dreams and in so doing, attract attention to this sport into our communities. “We are hoping to come back again next year and we are grateful to the Zimbabwe Chess Federation for organising such a high profile tournament,” said Chapfika.
FINAL RANKINGS OF THE MINERVA 2022 ZIMBABWE OPEN CHESS TOURNAMENT
MEN’S OPEN SECTION
Overall Winner: IM Gillian Bwalya 7.5pts/8 Rnds
2nd: Roy Mwadzura 7pts/8
3rd: IM Rodwell Makoto 6.5pts
4th: William Mwape 6.5pts
Overall Winner: WCM Kudzanayi Charinda 6.5pts/8
2nd: Dalitso Linda Shaba 6pts
3rd: Christine Makwena 5.5pts
4th: WCM Refiloe Mudodo 5.5pts
5th: WCM Andre Cheila Stoe 5.5pts
6th: WCM Paidaishe Zengeni 5.5pts
Prize Structure Open Section
1st – US$1 000
2nd – US$600
3rd – US$500
4th – $300
5th – $200
6th – $150
7th – $100
8th – $80
9th – $70
10th – $50
Best Under-20 – $50