Monday, March 4, 2024

Botswana Chess Federation kickstarts year on high note

The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) hosted their first event of the year, titled ‘Efficiency Chess Tournament’ this past weekend in Gaborone. The two day tournament, held at Legae Academy pitted strong chess players from Zambia, South Africa and Malawi against each other as they contested in the open, ladies and youth categories.

This year’s contest showed a vast improvement in terms of attendance with a total of 219 participants as compared to last year’s turnout of 117. BCF Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Neoyame Keenese Katisenge said they kick start every year with the tournament in order to sharpen and prepare players ahead of the season.

“Most of our players return from festive holidays out of form and we use this tournament to polish them up against the best in Southern Africa,” said Katisenge.

Ndawana Mosenya emerged champion after accumulating a total of 6.5/7 points in the open category, which was contested by all players regardless of gender, titles and ratings.

“He started the tournament well as he showed his intentions to prevail early. He went six rounds unbeaten in the presence of last year’s reigning champion Kela Kaulela from Zambia. He was neither shaken nor intimidated,” commented Katisenge on Mosenya’s performance.

The 2015 open section conqueror Fide Master (FM), Thato Olebile finished 16th after failing to defend his title in a hard fought contest. Sonia Modi of South Africa proved to be no pushover as she defended her title in the ladies section with an outstanding seven out of seven points unbeaten, while Termaine Chizikane of Zimbabwe settled for second position followed by women international master(WIM) Onkemetse Francis; and women international master Boikhutso Mudongo (both from Botswana) who came third and fourth respectively.

Katisenge further said they were happy with the fighting spirit and determination shown by Botswana players even though they won only two gold medals in the open and youth section. In the youth section (girls) women candidate master (WCM)-10 year old Naledi Marape of Botswana came third behind Besa Masaiti of Zambia who settled for position 1, where as Udiyanoor Sreejit dominated the youth section in the boys’ category.

Airfficiency (Pty) Ltd sponsored the event for the seventh time running with the sum of P20, 000 which was an increase of P5, 000 from last year’s P15, 000. Katisenge also praised the local league for boosting the players’ performance and vowed to host more tournaments of this magnitude in future. The BCF mouthpiece further said they have set their eyes on the 2016 Olympiad championships that are billed for Baku, Azerbaijan in September. Preparations for the Olympiad will start with the national team selection for both males and females next weekend in Gaborone.

“We selected a strong team that has been active in the year 2015 to compete in the first qualifiers stage. We will continue with our quest to pick the best of the best to represent the country in Baku,” Katisenge concluded.


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