Thursday, March 23, 2023

National Team players dominate Chess Championships

There were no major upsets at the just ended Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Morongwa Senior Individual Chess Championships Finals as Botswana National Team members reined supreme at the event.

In the boys’ finals, Botswana Under 16 National Team player, Shubham Chandna, was crowned the 2010 champion while Faith Mbakhwa, another Under 16 National Team player, won the Senior girls championship. Chandna amassed a total of eight points to clinch the boys’ championships while Mbakhwa totaled nine points to get the ladies crown.

Other National Team members who made it in the top ten for boys were Under 18’s Abdul Kamara, Oaitse Kokome and Kagiso Morwamang, as well as Under 16’s Tumelo Seane.

On the ladies side, Boitumelo Radikoro (Under 18) and Thapelo Francis (Under 16) accompanied Mbakhwa on the top ten list.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport at the event, BCF’s tournament Director, Kelapile Kelatlhilwe, hailed the tournament as a success.

Kelatlhilwe says this year’s tournament showed a marked improvement as compared to last year’s. He says by having preliminary knockouts across the country this year, the tournament’s quality was greatly improved as only the best and strongest players came for the finals.

He further says the championships also highlighted BCF’s development as a lot of young players, some of them primary school students, qualified for senior championships where they held their own against seniors.

Kelatlhilwe says the championships also helped give junior National team players much needed match practice ahead of the 2nd Edition of the Africa Youth Chess Championships billed for Gaborone on July 26.

Morongwa Chess championships are expected to proceed with Team Championships due to start at the beginning of July.

Meanwhile, the junior national team, which is expected to compete in the Africa Youth Chess Championships, is lined up to go on a four day camp starting July 1.

Team Manager Tshimologo Kolaatamo says the camp will be preceded by another camp to be held from 21 ÔÇô 25 July, five days before continental championships resume.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Kolaatamo says he is happy with the just ended senior Chess Championships as it helped highlight the short comings of the National Team players. He says during the camps, they will also deal with the players’ psychological aspect of the game, more especially as most of them are new to international chess. He says as part of the preparations, they intend on calling senior National Team players to come on board and help their juniors. Other aspects of the game to be looked at, according to Kolaatamo, are decision making and timing, which he says are very crucial, more especially in elite competitions. The team manager is optimistic his charges will do well in the championships as for some it will be their second time competing.

The first Africa Youth Chess Championships were hosted by South Africa last year, making Botswana the second country to host the tournament.

Team Botswana will be coached by Israel Makwati assisted by Baone Kealeboga.


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