Teen chess starlet Women Fide Master (WFM) Naledi Marape’s star shone the brightest as she dazzled opponents to clinch the Debswana open chess championship ladies’ title.
Naledi is considered one of the country’s best emerging chess masters and this past weekend’s win goes a long way to consolidate this view.
Known for her fearless approach to the chessboard, the celebrated youngster proved her mettle as she conquered a field of older and experienced players to win her first major local championship.
Among her competitors were national team players likes of WIM Boikhutso Mudongo, WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe and Besa Masaiti.
The highly contested championship witnessed Marape gaining a slim advantage following a three-way photo finish.
All the top three players finished with 5.5 points apiece and a tie-break was needed to separate them.
In the end, Marape emerged victorious as fellow WFM Besa Masaiti was relegated to the runners up position while Boitshepo Rebatenne pocketed bronze medal. Gabatshwarwe and Mudongo finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Since her introduction in the local chess circles, 13-year-old Naledi has been dishing out sensational performances and writing her own history.
She became the youngest Motswana to attain the Women Fide Master (WFM) title at the age of 11.
Her consistent performances over the weekend mark yet another milestone to her bulging credentials in the race to become the best chess player to come out of the country.
In the men’s section of the southern region, CM Thuso Mosutha was on top of his game pocketing home gold while Notha Moakofi finished second and FM Thato Olebile emerged third.
The northern battle was seemingly interesting in the men’s section that witnessed the top three players finishing the championship sitting at six points apiece.
However, Puso Mabetu was crowned champion ahead of Goabaone Tangani and CM Otsile Mapini in a tournament that was held in Palapye.
The ladies section witnessed national team heavyweights tussling for bragging rights with the likes of WIM Onkemetse Francis, WFM Thapelo Francis and WGM Tuduetso Sabure.
It was Onkemetse Francis dictating terms as she was crowned champion followed by Thapelo Francis while Sabure settled for bronze.