Bwalya, who was Zambia’s only participant at last year’s World Chess Olympiads in Norway, grabbed the title after finishing with 7.5 points, a point clear of Day-One leader Judah Simulundu who eventually finished on sole second place.
Back to the men category, Bwalya endured a bumpy start that saw him lose the second round game to Kelvin Chumfwa before later drawing against Simulundu but kept his nerve to win the other seven games of the nine-round competition.
The win establishes him among Zambia’s best and it remains to be seen whether he will this year break into top-five and hold on to a place which guarantees a national team position.
Simulundu had to share the second slot with back-to-form Richmond Phiri who also finished on 6.5 points but lost the second place to a tie breaker. The two players played to a draw in the ninth and final round.
Finishing in distant fourth was Chitumbo Mwali, who finished with five points after winning four games and drawing two and losing the other three for the five points which were same as Midosantos Chola.
Chumfwa, who despite beating Bwalya before drawing against Simulundu, finished in a disappointing sixth place with 4.5 points.
Whereas Bwalya was a clear winner in the men ranks, the women section had an exciting finish as three players were tied on top with four points whereby even three tie breakers could not separate them.
The top was crowded as Linda Hamoonga, Phylis Mwilola, and Constance Mbatha all finished with four points and the three computer-generated tie breakers still kept the players at par.
Each of the top finishers lost one of the five games played and won the other four which saw Hamoonga’s only loss came at the hands of Mwilola in the second round.
But Mwilola, after two wins lost the third round match to Mbatha, who was battered in the first round for her only loss of the competition by Hamoonga.
Finishing in fourth place was Bwalya Kabamba who finished with two pints after beating Anna Mbewe and Kamona Inonge in the first two rounds before losing the next three matches to the top three finishers.
Finishing on one point was Mbewe while Kamona failed to master a single point.
Times of Zambia