IT is getting heated in the Chess national team selection trials in Lusaka with Kela Kaulule and Timothy Kabwe tied on the table in the run to be named in the national team with three points.

In the Women’s section, Portiah Mututubanya took sole leadership of the run with a flawless run of three straight wins at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Makeni.

Kabwe built on his opening win over Mula Bwembya with a round two win over Terrene Chasaya before staging an upset against national Zambia Open champions International Master (IM) Richmond Phiri.

The checkmate against Phiri was a sweet one for Kabwe considering that the Phiri came into the event as the highest-ranked player.

On the other hand, Kaulule collected his three points from wins against David Hamoonga, veteran Tabala Simasiku, and Dennis Mwape before coming up against Kabwe in Round Four by press time.

The pair’s hold on the summit is however not safe in that they only lead the pack with half a point against the likes of Nase Lungu, Geoffrey Luanja, Michael Kaoma, Prince Daniel Mulenga, Kelvin Chumfwa, and Godwin Phiri who are sitting in joint second.

In the Women’s Section, Mututumbanya managed to keep her winning run in the first three rounds against Nilla Sauti and Naomi Mwale and favourite Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Phyllis Mwilola.

By press time, Mututumbanya had a date with second-placed Maris Banda in round four.

Banda has 2.5 points after a run of two wins and one stalemate in the opening three rounds.

She checkmated Victoria Mweetwa and Gladys Chishimba before settling for a draw against Daisy Simenda in round three.

Also on 2.5 points is Copperbelt University (CBU) student WCM Lubuuto Bwalya who beat Precious Nshikokola and Namakau Likando before being held by Bertha Phiri.