Bwalya closes in on Zim Open title

GILLIAN Bwalya yesterday moved closer to defending the Zimbabwe Open Chess Championship, after amassing 6.5 points after seven rounds.
The Zambian International Master (IM) only needs a win from the remaining two games to retain the title on 7.5 points, which can only be attained by second-placed IM Andrew Kayonde but the defending champion has a better head-to-head record.
Bwalya beat Zimbabwe’s Spencer Masango in round six but settled for a draw with compatriot IM Stanley Chumfwa in the seventh round at Ambassador Hotel in Harare.
He remains unbeaten in seven matches.
Kayonde beat compatriot Richmond Phiri in round six on Wednesday and overcame another Zambian Godwin Phiri to maintain grip on the second position with 5.5 points.
Zambian players have dominated the tournament and five of them are in the top six with Oatlhotse Providence of Botswana occupying the fourth position.
Providence beat Masango climbing to 4.5 points.
Richmond and Godwin, who both struggled yesterday, are fifth and sixth respectively on four points each.
Elisha Chimbambu of Zimbabwe is in distant seventh position after drawing with Richmond in round seven.

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