As part of their development programme, the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will send five young chess players to the inaugural Under-16 Zone 4.5 Chess Championships in Lesotho, which starts this weekend.
All Southern African nations are expected to send teams to the week-long tournament. Two girls, Women Chess Master (WCM), Refilwe Gabatshwarwe and Ruth Otisitswe will represent Botswana.
The duo will be joined by three boys; George Method, Keabetswe Makwaeba and Oageng Chalashika. The five players were selected after their exploits at the 2019 Debswana Finals Championships.
Fifteen-year-old Otisitswe won the Under-16 section with Gabatshwarwe (14) crowned the Under-14 champion. Method, 16, was the champion in the boys’ category. Makweba and Chalashika both 16-years-old were second and third respectively. The team leaves the country today (Friday).
BCF development director, Michael Mbaiwa anticipates a stellar performance from the team. He said they held training camps and the players have been active in different competitions.
“I anticipate strong competition from Malawi. They have similar robust development structures as us, however, I have so much belief in our players and for sure we would be within the medal categories,” an upbeat Mbaiwa said. The trio of Method, Gabatshwarwe and Otisitswe will, in December represent the nation at the Africa Youth Championship in Windhoek, Namibia.
Meanwhile, Collins Chilisa Consultants will host the second Legends Chess Championship for 2019 at Thapama Hotel in Francistown this weekend. It would the second edition to be played in the northern City. Last year’s Francistown Legends tournament was won by FIDE Master Phemelo Kheto. The Fide Master is expected to defend his championship. Stanley Sebowe of Mochudi Chess Club was the Open Section champion in Gaborone and Boikhutso Mudongo won the women section in the edition held in July in Gaborone.
The winner in the Open section walks away P3,500 richer and the women’s winner pockets P1,500. Collins Chilisa Consultants have sponsored the tournament for P30,000.