FORMER Copperbelt chess champion Andrew Kayonde yesterday took a comfortable lead at the ongoing final phase of the national team selection tournament in Lusaka.
Kayonde raced to five points from five rounds and is closely followed by the twosome of former national champion, Stanley Chumfwa and budding chess player, Douglas Munenga on four points.
On his way to the top, Kayonde defeated giants like Kelvin Chumfwa and Chitumbo Mwali while the second placed pair of Stanley and Munenga also remained without defeat but conceded two draws each and three wins to stay on four points.
Stanley and Munenga drew their games when they faced off in the first round with the former later drawing against his young brother Kelvin. Munenga reached a stalemate against Justin Banda.
As Kayonde was enjoying a comfortable lead in the men section, Constance Mbatha was setting the pace in the women ranks with 4.5 points but still treading on thin ice as Yvonne Saina and Women Fide Master (WFM) Lorita Mwango followed closely on four points.
Mbatha was in sparkling form, winning all her games except one against Saina but was happy to have beaten Mwango, who is a main threat to her winning the tournament.
Saina won her three opening games before suffering a shock defeat to Maureen Chilufya who drained her before she dropped points after drawing with Mwango, whose only other blemish was a loss to Mbatha.
Apart from those two games, Mwango had defeated Anaan Mbewe, Linah Mululu, Linda Hamoonga and Phyllis Mwilola and remains in the hunt for the top honour. The top five finishers in each section form the national team.