Debswana Re Ba Bona Ha Under 15 chess champion, Besa Masaiti, successfully defended her title over the weekend in the girls category.
The two day tournament was played at Mogoditshane Senior Seconday School and Masaiti emerged champion ahead of Otimile Mmei and Loago Badisang who were locked at 4.5 points apiece.
Tipped to be one the country’s best chesshopefuls, it was Masaiti’s experience which proved to be a difference between herself and opponents.
Masaiti has in the past represented the country at the Africa Youth Championships and brought home a Gold medal.
And against her counterparts this past weekend, the 15 year old was unstoppable, winning six of her matches and drawing only one match to accumulate 6.5 points and win the Girls Under 15 category.
The Motswedi Junior Secondary School student’s only draw at the tournament came against Tamuhla Londani.
Coming second and third positions respectively were Larona Otimile and Badisang Loago, finishing two points adrift.
In the Girls Under 11 category, it was not a weekend to savour for the country’s youngest chess sensation, Naledi Marape, who finished third. The youngster was lost out to Refilwe Gabatshwarwe and Tefo Kahuma, who finished first and second respectively.
It was however not all gloom for the Marape family as Naledi’s brother, Marape Marape Junior won the boys Under 13 category. Marape Junior blitzed through his opponents, winning all his seven matches with a total of seven points.
Coming in second and third respectively behind Marape Junior were Thabang Madume and Kalidas Rayirath. Both finished with 5.5 points apiece and were separated by a tie break.
The under 9 girls witnessed Moshoboro Arona crowned champion followed by Kgano Othusitse and Atlang Mosweu.
Tefo Philime cruised through to victory in the under 17 boys’ category while Othata Selogelo and Taolo Kgafela settled for second and third respectively.
In the Girls Under 17 category, it was Londani Tamuhla who emerged the winner. Tamuhla accumulated 5.5 points to clinch the title, finishing just half a point ahead of close rival Refilwe Bua, while Susan Sethebe finished third.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Spokesperson Keenese Katisenge said they are impressed with the level of competition it brings to youngsters at grassroots level.
“We are excited that junior national teams’ players are now selected countrywide due to these developmental programmes. Players from different centres now even qualify for youth national teams as they are now exposed. We had players from the Francistown Centre forming part of the team that represented Botswana at the African Youth Chess Championships in South Africa,” Katisenge told The Telegraph.