Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) national team will be under the microscope this weekend at the Gaborone International chess open. The team, which is preparing for upcoming assignments will face a litmus test when they go head to head with some of the finest chess players in the competition.
The tournament is scheduled for Oasis Motel in Tlokweng this coming weekend. The national team is using the weekend’s encounter as part of their preparations for the chess Olympiad slated for Azerbaijan in September.
While national team players are looking to sharpen their skills, fireworks and sparks are expected on the board as the region’s most acclaimed players have confirmed competing at the tournament. The likes of Malawian Francis Banda, Zambian Musatwe SImutowe and Zimbabwean Spencer Masango are among the sensational stars expected to touch down for the open.
Titanic battles are also expected among FIDE international coach Arbiter Major Ivon Makabe’s Olympiad Games bound ten member squad as they will be seeking to prove themselves ahead of Chess’ most prestigious competition.
It is said players in camp have extensively prepared for upcoming tournament with intensions to impress the coach ahead of the Olympiad Games. As championship is also at stake.
Rivalry will be re ignited as players will be on a quest to topple defending champions Women Grand Master Tuduetso Sabure and FIDE Master Thato Olebile.
“National team players will be competing at the open with expectations that they rehearse for the Olympiad Games later this year. This is an international Open rated under FIDE and expect players to perform to their best as they are measured by FIDE through their performance. Points will be gained for rankings at the event so we expect an electrifying tournament,” BCF Spokesperson Keenese Katisenge told The Telegraph.
Asked if there are any chances that players could lose place in the squad for poor performance, Katisenge said the team was selected after intensive surfing and criteria.
“We are now working on polishing their skills. The event brings in an array of players with different chess understanding and strength and these games will assist in assessing their progress and we believe some players from South Africa and neighbouring countries will assist in preparing them for the Games later this year.”
This year’s series has attracted more than 150 local players with many from Southern African countries continuing to register.
“The tournament brings together players across the chess divide and provides an opportunity for youngsters to test their strength against the region’s toughest players,” concluded Katisenge.
Players that made the final cut of the team are Ndawana Mosenya, Monnaatsheko Keletshabile, Thuso Mosutha, Otsile Mapini, Moakofi Notha, Boikhutso Modongo, Onkemetse Francis, Thapelo Francis, Palesa Mooketsi and Mbo Mabedi.