Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis has risen to the occasion proving to be one of the heavyweights at the 42nd World Chess Olympiad games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Francis was thrown into the deep end to lead the women team moving to play first board after WIM Boikhutso Mudongo returned home last week for the burial of her late sister.
After nine outings, Francis recorded four wins, three draws and twice fell in highly contested matches.
Francis’s individual brilliance came in handy for the women team as she assisted in recording wins against the likes of Angola and Eritrea. Her sterling performance has seen her move miles in the chess rankings across the globe.
“I had no choice but to lead by example. I had to take responsibility to motivate my team mates after Mudongo left. Some of our players made their maiden debut at the games so I had to make them comfortable and ease by pushing hard,” said Francis.
She added that there is a lot of talent locally that only needs to be nurtured well with the right coaching.
“We are doing something right in terms of developing young stars but I think somewhere it becomes stagnant. We need to start playing in Europe and have permanent coaches for the national team members not just during Olympiad meets,” Francis told The Telegraph.
BCF have revealed that they are impressed by Francis’s performance which proves her experience is vital for the national team and upcoming youngsters in the team.
“Francis has taken her team leadership role with high level of seriousness after she was moved to play board 1 for the ladies team when Boikhutso Modongo returned back to Botswana to attend to a family bereavement. Out of the nine games played so far, Francis has lost only two matches against New Zealand in round eight and Zimbabwe in round nine. She has four wins, three draws and two losses from the nine games played which we believe is an impressive outing. Her performance rating so far is at 2061 against her 1777 World Chess Federation actual rating for standard games. Should she continue with her impressive performance and her positive energy of leading the team, she will move up the world rankings when the event concludes this week,” narrated Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Spokesperson Keenese Katisenge.
Meanwhile, BCF has expressed pleasure after former President Tshepo Sitale’s appointment as board member of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) verification commission.
Sitale was appointed at the just ended 87th FIDE congress in Baku.
“It demonstrates growth in chess leadership in Botswana and the confidence that the international body has in our country. Mr Tshepo Sitale has been appointed into the FIDE Verification Commission, a commission responsible for auditing the world chess federation and its member federations. It is one of the most powerful commissions in FIDE. Botswana Chess continues to produce leaders of repute. I am a councillor of the World Chess Federation Commission for Women in Chess and Tshenolo Maruatona, the BCF President Tshenolo Maruatona is also a member of the FIDE Marketing Commission,” said Katisenge.