Thursday, June 13, 2024

Chess in Botswana on upward trajectory

Concerted efforts by Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) to be among global chess heavyweights are beginning to pay dividends. 

Just recently three Batswana received title honours from the World Chess Federation. 

Women International Master (WIM) Tshepiso Lopang was awarded both the International Arbiter and FIDE Instructor qualifications while International Organisers (IO) Vincent Masole and Keenese Katisenge got International Arbiter and National Instructor qualifications respectively.

The latest developments come after the chess governing body approved the titles following its General Assembly, which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan last month. 

The awarding of the FIDE instructor qualification is expected to come as a boost to BCF’s player development programmes. Among her new responsibilities as a FIDE instructor Lopang is expected ‘to teach the trainees and chess players the theory of the chess game, especially the middle game and the endgame.’  

“The FIDE Instructor is expected to work closely with the trainees and chess players towards the creation of their personalized chess game opening repertoire, which the trainer will also help enrich with new ideas,” BCF Spokesperson Katisenge explained.

Concerning the International Arbiter (IA) title, the BCF Spokesperson said it is awarded to experienced arbiters who are deemed capable of umpiring in big chess events and chess matches at continental and world levels. 

The addition of Masole as an International Arbiter raises the number of Botswana’s qualified International Arbiters to three, the other two being Kelapile Kelatlhilwe and WIM Lopang.

“These titles are worthy of our local game as they put us in a good place when bidding for international events because we have qualified and licensed officials. It demonstrates growth of Chess in Botswana in both play and administration,” Katisenge explained.

According to the BCF spokesperson this development will help raise the standard of Chess in Botswana. 

“The achievement is in line with Botswana Chess Federation’s strategic objective of increasing the number of qualified and internationally recognised officials and coaches,” Katisenge said.

She added that as a Federation, they are striving to have more qualified players and coaches in future to achieve their goal to be among the best in the world. 

“The aim is to have a pool of qualified officials and coaches because to help us to grow the game across all corners of the country. We also want to make a positive impact at continental and international level and for us to achieve such, we need to keep on producing good quality and internationally recognised officials and coaches,” the BCF spokesperson continued.

Moving forward, Katisenge said the BCF will continue to host refresher workshops for its officials ‘so that we sharpen their skills and make sure they are up to date with new FIDE rules and regulations.’


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