An intense battle of chess minds is expected as national team chess players are expected to face each other during the 11th edition of the Annual Metropolitan National Chess Championship.
It will held from April 28 to May 1 at the Cresta President Hotel in Gaborone.
According to Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Keenese Katisenge competitors at the event are expected to bring out their best as the tournament will be a platform to prepare for the 2017 African Zone 4.3 chess championship to be held in Livingstone, Zambia, in June 2017.
“If you recall well, we used the second round of this tournament to select our national teams. Of the top 10 players, both men and women, who made the final, the top seven after the second round were selected to play for the national team. This therefore means it will be a battle between national team players,” the BCF spokesperson said.
According to Katisenge, the BCF will use this year’s event to give the players more exposure not only for the Zone 4.3 chess championship but also for the 2017 Africa Individual Chess Championship to be held in Morocco.
With a winner’s purse of P10 000 up for grabs in the open section, it will be an all out battle as defending champion Candidate Master (CM) Barileng Gaealafshwe defends his crown against some of the country’s best chess talents.
Among those vying for Gaealafshwe’s title will be the country’s highest ranked men’s player International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse. Other contenders will be CM Thabo Gumpo, CM Thuso Mosutha and Moakofi Notha, among others
In the ladies section, Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis will also have to battle it out with a strong group of contenders to defend her crown.
She will face WIM Kgalalelo Botlhole, WIM Boikhutso Mudongo and WIM Tshepiso Lopang, with upcoming teenagers in the likes of Koziba Mokhunzeni and 14-year-old Besa Masaiti expected to give the tussle a fresh twist. The winner of the ladies’ section will pocket P8 000.
Aside from the prize monies and silverware, Katisenge said the winners of the championship would be selected to represent the country at Africa’s Individual Chess championships.