The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Secretary General, Kelapile Kelatlhilwe, says there is a need for the national chess teams to have a qualified coach if they are to do better in future.
Speaking in an interview, the BCF Secretary General said lack of a resident coach is bound to affect the performance of the team.
“We need a resident coach if the team is to improve its performance in the international arena. While we have local coaches, these coaches cannot coach at the highest level (national team) as their skill level is almost the same as that of national team players. We need a coach whose skill can be above that of our local players,” Kelatlhilwe said.
The BCF Secretary General says while local coaches can play a role, their impact is limited by their lack of theoretical knowledge of the sport.
He says, unlike other sport, the sport of chess has a theoretical side, which, if not taken care of, can lead to stagnancy in the development of a player.
Kelatlhilwe says while they would have liked to rope in a resident coach, the funding they receive is not enough for them to afford such a move. He says as such, they will be engaging stakeholders, including the country’s sports mother body, the Botswana National Sports Council, to help them find a coach to take the national team forward.
Kelatlhilwe says he is hopeful that through the relations they have with other highly ranked chess playing countries, they can acquire a coach who can help move the sport forward.
Meanwhile, the BCF Secretary General has attributed the recent success of the chess national team at the All Africa Games to good preparations that they had prior to participating at the continental showpiece.
“Our approach to preparations for the games was to have our players get as much game time as possible. If you remember well, prior to the games, we played a series of friendly games, some of which were against teams like Zambia and Angola, while locally, we organised as many games as possible to give our players more playing time,” Kelatlhilwe added.
He says to enhance the team’s training, they even engaged the Russian Grandmaster Iger Vladimirovich Glek to train the team for a week. The BCF Secretary General, however, says due to the Grandmaster Glek’s short stay, the impact he had was very limited.
“Most of our national team players are full time workers and could thus not afford to train with the Grandmaster and could not gain much from his training,” he added.
Despite all this, the Chess team were the best achievers at the tournament as they garnered three medals, surpassing their high performance target of one medal set for them by the BNSC.
On other issues, the BCF will be hosting 2011 Botswana International Open over the Independence holidays. The championship, which will start on the 29th September till 2nd October 2011, will be held at Gaborone International School at Cheer Shine Hall.
According to Kelatlhilwe, this year’s event promises to be one of the best as it will pit together international players from the region.
“As one way of attracting the best high ranked players, we have offered free accommodation to all titled players who include Grandmasters, International Masters, Women Grandmasters, Women International Masters as well as players rated above 2300,” Kelatlhilwe said.
He says unlike in the past year when the tournament sponsorship was P10 000, this year’s sponsorship is estimated at around P30 000. The BCF Secretary General says the 1st prize on the open section will be P6, 500 and on the ladies section it will be P3, 000.
The event will be nine rounds swiss and it is also internationally accredited thus players are entitled to rating and officials can also get the norms for arbiters. The Event is supported by Kalahari Associates who are equipment dealers, Gaborone International and other companies.
The sponsorship is worth P30, 000.