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Masaiti shocks seasoned campaigners to finish third

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Masaiti shocked her more fancied opponents PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Besa Masaiti, 17, showed scant regard for her superiors as she finished third in the 2018 Metropolitan National Championship played over the Easter weekend. Masaiti pulled three victories, and one of them was against Woman International Master (WIM) Boikhutso Mudongo.

Masaiti accumulated six points to pocket P4,000.  WIM Kgalalelo Botlhole won the competition with eight points and took home P8,000. WIM Onkemetse Francis was second with seven points and banked P6,000.

Masaiti, a Form Four student at Mater Spei College in Francistown, played the tournament of her life to show that she has a bright future in chess.

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) president, Mothokomedi Thabano told Mmegi Sport that the youngster received the WFM title after winning the 2016 Africa Schools Chess Championship Under-15 category in Romania.

“She played well during the Metropolitan Championship and did not register a loss. It is an indication that our development programmme is doing well,” he said.

Masaiti’s father, Charles said he was proud of his daughter’s achievement.  He said his daughter has a bright future in chess.

“It makes me happy to have a child who responds to instructions. Now she is reaping the rewards. I just wish the government would assist talented players in order for them to excel,” he said.

Another young chess sensation, WFM Naledi Marape finished seventh and was using the event to prepare for the World Schools Chess Championship to be held in Albania at the end of April.

Meanwhile, WIM Botlhole won the championship with one round to spare

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when she defeated WIM Francis in the eighth round, who was by then, equal points.

International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse proved to be too strong for his male opponents, winning the championship with two rounds to play.

His only loss came against veteran Candidate Master (CM) Ndawana Mosenya.

Thabano said the results mean IM Oatlhotse and WIM Botlhole have qualified for the World Chess Olympiad, which will be held in Georgia in September.

“We are hoping to get financial assistance from the government to have a coach as well as preparatory games. We have already sent a request to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to facilitate with the ministry,” Thabano said.

He said players are focussed and they are ready to work harder this year. The other players who have qualified for the Olympiad are WIM Francis and FIDE Master Phemelo Kheto.

“The morale is already high as the team has some of the finest players,” Thabano said.

Open section results: CM Otsile Mapini (2), CM Barileng Gaealafshwe (3), Phemelo (4), Moakofi Notha (5), Oratile Kgotlane (6), Ndawana (7), Keletshabile Monnatsheko (8), Oaitse Kokome (9) and Thabo Elias (10).

Women section: Gorata Leso (4), Mudongo (5), Ruth Otisitswe (6), Thapelo Francis (8), Boitshepo Rebatenne (9) and Keitumetse Nkwe (10).



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