Romanian player clinches local chess tournament

On a roll: L’ami from Romania emerged victorious
On a roll: L’ami from Romania emerged victorious

After a hectic seven-day battle on the chess board, International Master (IM), Alina L’ami from Romania, emerged victorious winning the inaugural Besa Masaiti WIM Norm tournament that was held at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone. The tournament ended on Christmas Eve.

The second position went to Woman International Master (WIM) Anna Kubicka from Poland while WIM Alicja Sliwicka also from Poland claimed the third position. The three players all finished on 7.5 points and pocketed P10, 000 each.

IM Nino Maisuradze (France) finished the competition in position four that carried a cash prize of P6, 000 and Mongolian, Uyanga Byambaa clinched position five with an award of P4, 000.

WIM Jesse February from South Africa crossed the border with P3, 000 after finishing in position six.

The Nigerian champion, Deborah Quickpen, aged 11 years, shared the spoils with Woman FIDE Master Besa Masaiti and they were both rewarded with P1, 750. WIM Onkemetse Mendu Francis and WFM Naledi Marape each received a P1, 000 reward.

By the end of round seven, all players were trailing L’ami who did not lose any game. On the final day of the competition, it was clear that it was going to be a European affair after the trio of L’ami, Kubicka and Sliwicka had amassed 6.5 points. It was a tough battle as Maisuradze threatened a podium finish after gathering five points. The game plan for Byambaa did not work as she found the going tough registering only 4.5 points.

The tournament director, Charles Masaiti, told MmegiOnline that the tournament was aimed at empowering the girl child.

“This was our inaugural tournament. It has never happened in Botswana or even Africa. “We witnessed something unique that we have never seen before. “We brought together the strongest women players from across the world to Gaborone. “They displayed their skills and proved that they are the best. “Our players tried their best and the most important thing is not how they performed but the lessons that they picked from other players,” he said.

Masaiti said the tournament was viewed online throughout the world, which was also an opportunity to market Botswana. However highlighting some of the challenges, Masaiti said they failed to secure enough sponsors for the tournament.

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