Rock and Roll Chess Masters through the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will host the 2023 Elite Besa Masaiti Woman Fide Master (WFM) Norm and Botswana Youth International Chess Championship next month.
Themed “Changing the Game for the Girl Child” the tournament evolved from an effort by Besa Masaiti, which began in 2022 with Nigeria’s Ebere Nuwachukwu. They sent 20 chessboards to Botswana to promote the sport and encourage students to continue participating in sport despite the suspension of sports in schools.
The Woman Fide Master (WFM) Masaiti said she continued this effort to give back to the community through this year’s tournament. She pointed out that the event is named after her to tell her story as a young girl and now a woman playing chess, to encourage women to keep working hard in sport and balance between sport career and academics.
The aim of the organising team is to make the tournament an annual event that will draw the attention of Botswana, Southern Africa and Africa as a whole to chess and sport.
“We need to make our sport more visible in order to attract more sponsors, brand partnerships, funding and more, and creating a unique tournament is one of the ways we can do that,” said Masaiti.
Furthermore she said, the organisers are also working on the mentorship program, which will provide Batswana scholars and young people with access to the elite professionals, both within the country and in other African regions.
Meanwhile, WFM says they have on-the-spot help from Tshidi Moremi, Tebogo Lebotse Sebego, Vincent Masole and Chanda Nsakanya working on the sidelines to make this work. Meanwhile financially, the tournament is self-fundraised by her and her father, Charles Masaiti and Courtney Frank as they are looking for sponsors.
“Batswana lack mentorship in so many areas, we hope to bridge that gap and have a Non-Governmental Organization that can facilitate that as well as sponsor committed chess players to tournaments faced with financial constraints,” Masaiti said.
WFM was the first chess player to be sponsored abroad under the elite program. She noted that the legacy she hopes to leave behind is “chess beyond the chessboard, to remember that sport is meant to change lives in a 360 degrees fashion.”
Rock and Roll Chess, Coach Masaiti said, “legendary sports woman administrator and Corporate Lebotse Sebego will champion the event as we aim to prop up the girl child and the youths’ irrespective of their status in society. We hope to draw inspirations from her rich success story.”
The tournament is scheduled for 18th to 24th September 2023 in Gaborone. The Women International Master Norm Tournament Prizes will be awarded to those who achieve first and tenth positions. Prize monies range P12000.00 to P1000.00. The Junior Section Prizes (Boys & Girls) P750.00 (Under 21), P500.00 (Under 17), P400.00 (Under 15), P250.00 (Under 13), P150.00 (Under 11) and the Under 9 and 7 will be rewarded with chess sets and notation books. The women section Prizes from P5000.00 to P1500.00.