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Victorious junior chess team qualifies for Olympiad

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
PALAPYE: The young chess team that represented the nation at the Zone 4.5 tournament held in Lesotho returned home as champions and have secured qualification to the 2020 Under-16 Chess Olympiad.

The Women Chess Master, Refilwe Gabatshwarwe led the team to victory. She was with Ruth Otisitswe as the only other girl and three boys George Method, Keabetswe Makwaeba and Oageng Chalashika.

The squad put up a brilliant campaign against hosts Lesotho, eSwatini and Malawi. Botswana dropped only two games, drew three and won 15 in 24 games played. They amassed 16.5 out of 24 points.

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) president, Mothokomedi Thabano hailed the players for their great performance. He confirmed the win sent the team to the next Under-16 Olympiad. The venue of the Olympiad is yet to be confirmed. The team arrived in the country from Teyateyaneng, Lesotho on Wednesday.

“We are jubilant, it’s another milestone for us. We are blessed, and we are proud of these young players. We are so lucky FIDE will take care of our tickets for next year’s Youth Olympiad,” Thabano said.

Meanwhile, BCF continues its schedule with a successive tournament in Francistown

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this weekend. The northern city will be hosting Francistown Open Chess Championships on Saturday and Sunday. Last week, the city hosted the Legends Tournament sponsored by Collins Chilisa Consultants.

Francistown Open would be played at the Botswana Accountancy College premises near Galo Mall. Malike Mmohe of Mmohe Attorneys sponsors the event to the tune of P20,000. Botswana National Sport Commission sponsors the youth section.

Thabano appreciated the continued support from the sponsors. He said the intention of BCF was to host chess activities across the country every weekend. Thabano said the positive results from the regional competition owes to continued activity.

“We are getting positive support from Batswana, that is why we are able to remain active. We are developing extremely well, and all the stakeholders involved in the game are working hard and with synergy to grow this game. It’s not a fluke that we are the best sporting code in the country,” he said.



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