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Visually impaired make chess debut

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Visually impaired players will play in a regional tournament
Partially blind players will make their international debut today when the 2018 Botswana International Open Junior Chess Championship kicks off at Botho University in Gaborone.

The Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BABPS) coordinator, Omphemetse Ramabokwa told Mmegi Sport that their intention is to give the partially blind and visually impaired players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

He said the players started getting exposure to chess after BABPS partnered with Limitless Minds Chess Academy early this year.

“Our players have never played chess before. They started showing interest after the partnership with Limitless,” he said. Ramabokwa said the team is currently in camp at Mochudi Rehabilitation Centre, where a coach is preparing them.  He said the championship is an eye-opener and would show other countries that the partially blind players are also good.“The championship would open doors for us moving forward. We expect more competitions coming our way even outside the country,” he said.

The event organiser and founder of Limitless Minds Chess Academy, Keenese Katisenge said 180 players from Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe

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have registered for the event. She said 18 of them would compete in the visually impaired section.The academy together with Rock and Roll Chess Masters were granted permission to host the event by Botswana Chess Federation (BCF).

“This championship is open to all national chess federations, academies, clubs, schools and individual players from the age categories of Under-seven, Under-nine, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-21. There is also a section for Under-21 and Open section,” she said.

Katisenge added that the aim of Limitless is to be the first mover by adopting an open-minded and modern way of taking chess to more people in the country and the rest of the continent.

“Hosting this championship increases our contribution to the development and advancement of chess in Botswana.

We have introduced programmes designed to meet the needs of different communities within our society such as chess for the visually impaired,” she said.



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