Mmegi Online :: Briton supports local chess grandmaster plan
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Last Updated
Monday 18 June 2018, 16:04 pm.
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Briton supports local chess grandmaster plan

Grandmaster (GM) Nijel Short believes that the Talking Squares Chess Trust initiative of aiming to produce grandmasters in the next 10 years is achievable. Short arrived in Gaborone on Monday at the invitation of the Talking Squares.
By Calistus Kolantsho Thu 07 Sep 2017, 12:35 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Briton supports local chess grandmaster plan








During his visit, Short would play 50 players in a simultaneous session, with 25 players per session on Saturday at Game City mall. Speaking at a media briefing this week, the British national said the level of chess in Botswana is not high. He said the grandmaster project is a medium term project.

“The highest rated player in Botswana is around 2200. The level of a grandmaster is 2500. A gap of 200 points is quiet large, it is a class difference. A person of 2400 who plays a person of 2200 is expected to score about 75%. As you can see, the project is an ambitious one,” he said.

Short said the project is attainable and chess has been growing over the years. He said in the past it was an advantage to be in a country where there is a library where players could play. He said currently, players have all the basic tools used by the World champion.

Short said Southern Africa is not the main hub of chess in the World, with the majority of tournaments taking place in Europe, Americas and expanding to Asia. He said Africa has been left behind.

“Players can go online and play somebody from all over the World in a matter of seconds. These are opportunities that are available and did not exist before. The two fundamental parts of becoming a strong player is to practice and study,” he said. He said people should have opportunities to play on a regular basis.

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Short said he used to play 150 rated games a year and sometimes up to 180. He said that practice was an essential component to his development as a player. Short said studying has to be done individually but it should be accelerated with good coaching. He said a coach should be able to point players in the right direction and stop them from making the same mistakes again.

“You are next to South Africa who are a powerhouse in the region. Use that to your advantage,” he said.

Meanwhile, Talking Squares coordinator, Kenneth Boikhutshwane said Botswana Chess Federation was established in 1982 but the players who have been produced have not attained the grandmaster status. He said that made him to ask himself questions as to what was being done wrong. He said that was when he decided to involve people who are grandmasters.

“It is easier to involve grandmasters because they know what it takes to be one. Short is one of the best chess players in the World. He has won tournaments in all continents,” he said.

Boikhutshwane said they want to see local chess changing in the next 10 years due to the support from Short.

Players had to compete in the qualification tournament that was held last weekend at Legae Academy in order to book a date with the grandmaster. Boikhutshwane said a special arrangement has been made for members of the junior national team that was in Harare, Zimbabwe for the Africa Junior Schools champions.

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