Botswana Chess Federation’s (BCF) excitement to host the Zone 4.3 Championships has been short-lived after failure by the association to convince the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) that there are benefits that come along with holding the regional tournament.
Sunday Standard has learnt that the BNSC has ruled that the tournament slated for Gaborone from April 5 to 17 falls outside its hosting calendar, hence the halt.
Close sources have revealed to Sunday Standard that efforts by BCF officials to convince the mother body were futile despite preparations being at an advanced stage.
“BCF was awarded hosting rights by the African Chess Federation (ACF) in August last year. However, the BNSC requires at least 12 months notification for regional events but in the past BCF hosted several events funded by the World Chess Federation and African Chess Federation under the same pattern without any quandary,” revealed a source.
The predicament is a major blow to the local chess fraternity as it will affect a number of players that will be cut from the national team. Hosting nations field more players in the championships, giving them a chance to elevate their ratings in the world of chess. Botswana had 14 players selected to represent the country and with the turn of events four will be exempted from the squad.
“Losing hosting rights will impact negatively on us as a country. This was an opportunity for us to expose our officials and for others to gain international norms from the event.
“We were going to field more players locally since the host country is given more slots,” said BCF spokesperson Keenese Katisenge.
She said preparations of the event were at peak with some logistics finalised; it is a major blow to the federation as it impacts badly on their relation with the African and world chess mother body.”
“Preparations were at advanced stages, the teams were selected and venue was booked. Invitations were in circulation and countries had sent through the names of their players and officials.
“We were also planning on running a Fide Trainers Seminar to train local coaches,” Katisenge said.
Meanwhile, the ACF will announce the new host next week as dates for the championships are drawing closer.