One of Africa's brightest chess masters, Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe, won the Botswana Open International Chess tournament undefeated yesterday.
The widely-travelled Harare man scored six victories and a draw on his way to lifting the title. Barileng Gaealasfwe, who represented Botswana at this year's Olympiad was the only player who took something from the International Master (IM) via a draw in the fourth round.
The draw benefited Phemelo Khetho, Botswana's number one player as he led the log until he met Gwaze on Sunday morning in a make-or-break game for both players.
However, Gwaze, playing with the white pieces sustained his aggressive play and in less than 20 moves, he forced Khetho to commit a middle game blunder that he never recovered from. The game was over inside 31 moves, lasting only one hour. At the time of going to press, Khetho was expected to see off the challenge of compatriot Moakofhi Notha to finish second, with six victories from seven games.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean champion, Moyo Don and Botswana
By Botswana standards, it was a poorly attended event. The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) that sponsored the event with the support of Bank of Baroda is said to have expected to raise some cash from the entry fees to augment the prize money but this did not happen. To complicate matters, there was argument over the much-publicised $1,000 (approximately P6,670) first prize money which was reduced to P5, 500. The BCF secretary general, Kenneth Boikutswane, explained that the prize comes to P6,670 when the cost of the trophy and the medals are included.