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MBABANE – For the first time, Simphiwe Dlamini has been crowned the Mbabane Chess Open champion. 

It is a tough competition as highly rated Eswatini chess players were part of the 2020 Mbabane Chess Open, which started on Saturday and finished late Sunday at the City Court Lodge.

The players included Eswatini FIDE decorated chess players in Candidate Masters (CMs) Skhanyiso Sihlongonyane and Similo Hlophe.

Also forming part of the competitors for the 2020 Mbabane Open title is Eswatini FIDE second highest rated player Mbongeni Mabuza.

The Mbabane Open is the first Eswatini Chess Federation (ECF) official over board tournament since government gave the green light to middle risk sporting codes to resume action amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government, in consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) imposed a suspension on all sports in the kingdom in March when the spread of the virus was rife. The UNESWA club champion  said hard work paid following the win of his maiden tournament. He played fantastic chess from round 1 to 6. 

The best lady was a 3-way tie between Nomcebo Sibisi, Nokuthula Msibi and Nolwazi Nkwanyane. 

“I must say that it was a tough competition as there were highly rated players with more strength taking part,” he said. The chess player added that COVID-19 had serious effects towards them as chess players because the game becomes one’s life once you start playing it.

He said it was hard because they were forced to stay home and not compete with other players.

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