Chess President happy with development programme

While the president of the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF), Tshenolo Maruatona sang praise of his executive committee, not all affiliate members in attendance of the annual general meeting (AGM) agreed.

Speaking at the annual gathering held in Lobatse over the weekend, Maruatona stated that despite challenges the committee faced in the past year, they have done well with grassroots development and taking the sport to higher levels.

“This has been an interesting period of humongous milestones, challenges and learning’s, trips out of which we have emerged an even stronger team across all divides,” he said.  Maruatona said Chess continued to be the envy of other sporting codes and continues to enjoy the limelight as a model federation in Botswana and the rest of Africa. “We have been highly applauded by Botswana National Sports Council and the World Chess Body”.  But not everyone agreed with Maruatona’s glorifying report as some of the federation affiliates were critical of his committee.

The national arbitrator and development instructor, Christopher Mogorosi said the current regime is solely focused on developing the national team players rather than building chess at grassroots level. “The executive should consider developing chess at a lower level through the grant they receive. It seems like they are much concerned with the national teams whereas there are terrible monetary challenges at grassroots level,” Mogorosi said.

Bonyonyo Chess Club manager, Baone Kealeboga also appealed to the executive to develop chess at all points emphasising the need to avail chess equipment to juniors.

“The executive must invest in building chess facilities in Botswana, for example, a library for young players who have lot of disposable time and end up quitting chess because of lack of facilities. I also edge the executive to refrain from attending only sponsored tournaments. It is important for them to avail themselves at all tournaments whether sponsored or not,” Kealeboga argued.

The schools chess facilitator, Motlhokomedi Thabano disagreed. He said the committee was doing enough to develop chess at grassroots level.

“We are fully committed at developing chess at grassroots level and we encourage all stakeholders to assist where possible. We have recently hosted junior chess championships and underage tournament featuring kids between seven and seventeen years will be hosted soon. We also encourage teachers to intensify their efforts in development of chess despite the regression between them and the employer,” Thabano said.

Marking his second year in office, Maruatona said through aligning their vision with that of the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) vision 2028, they are continuing to improve the quality of chess in Botswana. He said they have honoured the 2014 calendar with minimum postponements and they have managed to submit their financial reports without failure.

Maruatona added that there was peaceful transition of leadership unlike in any other sporting activities where differences hinder progress. “Botswana Chess Federation started the year on a highly packed calendar of events.

We barely had any weekend without a chess event. With the assistance of the general membership, we have successfully landed the 2014 schedule with very minimal postponement and or cancellation of events.

The Federation continued to honour and submit annual returns and the registrar of societies and financials at BNSC, honoured and submit Annual returns and the Registrar of Societies and Financials at BNSC. We are committed to grassroots developments and we have also managed to see a smooth leadership transition unlike in other sporting activities,” Maruatona said.

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