ZAMBIA’S chess international master Chitumbo Mwali says there is need to invest in the upcoming players if the country is to continue being the hub of chess in the region.
Addressing journalists when he arrived from Russia, Mwali said he would love to go back to the world championship as a coach with a young energetic chess player.
Mwali beat Martirosyan Haik of Armenia who was also world junior champion at the world championship in Russia.
“Winning a grandmaster, it made me feel great because definitely I have set a record. And for the upcoming, they will be inspired because it has been hard mostly for Zambian players and Southern Africa. So, they are inspired and they will definitely go further,” said Mwali on Sunday. “We are already a hub of chess in the region, definitely in the Southern Africa we are a chess powerhouse. The future is always bright but what we need to do is to invest in a lot of junior chess players, the upcoming players so that next time or the next few years I can go there as coach or take somebody who is younger and have more energy to perform at that level.”
And Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) president Mukubulo Chilufya said Mwali’s performance at the world championship was an unprecedented record that no Zambian had achieved.
“We are very proud of our international master, the current champion of the Chess Federation, his performance in Russia is unprecedented; is a record breaking. No one in the history of Zambia in the world cup has reached what Chitumbo did,’’ he said. ‘’You know pushing playoffs against a grandmaster, highly rated grand master, it’s an unprecedented; it has put the country on the map We are so happy of him and it has really motivated the development section and it has boosted the morale of the game in the country.”
Chilufya has however challenged the National Sports Council of Zambia to share resources equally to all sports federations.
“So going forward, we need to continue rolling out the game of chess in all corners of the country, especially in the development section because that’s where the future is,’’ said Chilufya. ‘’We will take advantage of this opportunity to call upon all the sponsors to come on board we are so grateful to Sports Council for the sponsorship, but I will only call on them that next time they increase it. There are no minor sports, therefore, we need a threshold in terms of sponsorship. We are equal to the task; we bring results as much as soccer does. The next time they sponsor us, we make a plea that we are given what we have asked for.”