Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ukraine chess grand master holds hope for female players

Ukrainian chess Woman Grand Master (WGM), Anastasiia Karlovych, says the establishment of the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Women’s Commission will help bridge the gap between male and female chess players in the country.

Officially launching the BCF Women’s Commission at Yarona Country Lodge this past Friday, Karlovych said the move to establish the BCF Women’s Commission would help local women chess players to compete against their male counterparts.

While chess is not a physical sport, local ladies have almost always shied away from competing in open sections of the tournament, preferring to compete against fellow ladies.

She however said while women shied away from competing against men, most probably due to “men’s aggressive approach to chess”, some women chess players have shown it is possible to compete and win against men in the sport of chess.

The Ukrainian WGM, who is also a member of the World Chess Federation (WCF) Women’s Commission, said during her active playing days, she played against men, “beating some and losing against others.”

Karlovych said the establishment of the new commission would help improve the welfare of women and promote women’s chess in the country. She said the reason for her visit to Botswana was not only to launch the commission but also to “encourage and motivate women to play chess.”

The newly established BCF Women’s Commission, which will be chaired by Women International Master Tshepiso Lopang, will have among its committee members Gayathri Sriram as its Secretary General, Boikhutso Mudongo and Kutlwano Tatolo as additional members while BCF Public Relations Officer (PRO) Neoyame Katisenge is its ex-officio member.

The launch was graced by among others, Women and Sports Botswana Chairperson Mmapula Keaikitse and some members of her committee. Speaking at the launch, Keaikitse hailed the establishment of the commission, saying it will give a good platform to the woman child in chess. She said as an organisation geared towards promoting the welfare of women across all sports in Botswana, WASBO will provide as much support as it can to the newly formed commission.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the President of BCF, Tshenolo Maruatona, highlighted a need to for the development of women chess players in the country.

He said as things stand currently, local ladies are still not competitive against their male counterparts in the country.

Maruatona expressed hope that Karlovych’s visit to Botswana will help bridge the disparity between men and women chess players in the country. Between launching the BCF Women’s Commission and holding meetings with the BCF Executive Committee, Karlovych also had an opportunity to visit one of BCF’s grassroots development projects as well as playing a simultaneous exhibition match against 30 of Botswana’s promising chess players under the age of 18.


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