By Shamaoma Musonda -
NATIONAL chess champion Andrew Kayonde has started the 2015 Christmas Special Invitation tournament on a winning note while two of his fellow national team players in Richmond Phiri and Kelvin Chumfwa tumbled.
Kayonde, who is the highest-ranked player at the tournament, defeated fellow international Richmond Phiri in the opening round of the tournament that has just eight strong players making section A at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC).
With Phiri losing his opening game, the attention shifted to the third member of the national team at the tournament in Kelvin Chumfwa who fought off a strong challenge from Oscar Mwenya before forcing a draw.
This meant that of the three national team players in action at the meet, just Kayonde won his game and raised excitement about the forthcoming 2016 national team trials, which will be one of the most exciting in recent years.
In round two, Kayonde had a date with Timothy Kabwe, a winner from the first round over Kondwani Gondwe, while Leslie Chikuse, who defeated Tabala Simasiku in the opening round, meets Mwenya in the second round.
Internationals Chumfwa and Phiri will face each other on Board-Three with Gondwe and Simasiku on Board-Four.
In Section B where up to 32 players are competing, top seed Chola Musonda had an easy start where he beat a 12-year-old girl Maria Banda to stay top of the rankings.
He was followed on the winning path by second seed Alistair Chisompola who was winner over another girl in Naomi Mwale but the story was different for players seeded three to six as they were beaten.
Seed-three Samuel Mwale was beaten by unseeded Evans Chitola, while Barnabas Chitula, seeded four, was checkmated by Richard Mwansa.
Isabel Mwewa and Goodson Kalolo, seeded five and six were battered by Justin Daka and Godwin Phiri, respectively, while Kennedy Shane drew his game against Linda Patrick.
This five-round Christmas tournament ends today.