The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has confirmed titles for five Botswana chess players after their sterling performance at the African Schools Chess Championships held in Tlokweng last week.
The players with the new titles are Candidate Master Iphaza Masala, eight year-old Woman Candidate Master Naledi Marape and Candidate Master Amaresh Kathiresan. The federation awarded FIDE Master title to Abhiram Sasitharan for winning the Under-17 Open section. Koziba Kemoile is now a Woman Candidate Master after her brilliant performance in the girls’ Under-17 category.
The recent achievement means Botswana has four Woman Candidate Masters. Marape and Kemoile join Ontiretse Sabure and Lame Kolaatamo. Sasitharen is now ranked with Phemelo Khetho, Thato Olebile and Ignatious Njobvu as a FIDE Master.
Masala and Kathiresan join the ranks of Thabo Gumpo, Barileng Gaealafshwe, Moakofi Notha, Bompheletse Kebobone and Clifford Masole as Candidate Master. The country remains with one Woman Grand Master, Tuduetso Sabure and one International Master, Providence Oatlhotse.
The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson, Keenese Katisenge told Mmegi Sport yesterday that the increase in chess titles shows positive growth and development for the country. She said the titles are an indication of the presence of skilled and strong players in the country and as a federation, they are proud to be producing good players.
“We have made a commitment to focus more on grassroots development but obviously not sidelining other areas of development for chess in Botswana and we are proud now to see players aged as young as eight years gaining ratings and titles for the country,” she said.
Katisenge said BCF is working on ensuring that young players go through all the necessary stages of development, as they are future Olympiad medalists. She said they have worked hard to ensure they meet some of the high level targets in the BCF current strategy, which is aligned to the BNSC Vision 2018. She said their aim is to work harder to ensure sustainable chess development. Katisenge said the benefits of having more players with titles include invitation to high profile international events and exemption of players from paying entry fees at some of the events.
“The players also now stand high chances of making it into the national teams and representing their country at regional, continental and international events,” said Katisenge.