BCF host season ending tourney

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  • Francistown Int’l open set for 24-25 November
  • 2018 was a very successful year for BCF – says President

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) has revealed that the Francistown International Open will be their last offical event of the the 2018 calendar year. The tournament, which was established last year, will be held in Francistown on November 24-25. Its main objective is to continue giving chess players across the country competitive action.

The tournament also attracts quality players, not from just around the country, but also regionally. BCF President Mothokomedi Tlhabano said their intention is to use the competition to prepare their Youth team for the Africa Schools Chess Championships, which will be held in South Africa next month. “This tournament started last year, it was sponsored by Mr Malike Mmohe of Mmohe attorneys at P12 000, Spar Botswana at P4000.This year Mr Mmohe popped out P20 000 for the second edition of these championships to bring chess to the people of Francistown and surroundings. The event is open to all. With two main categories as Open section and ladies section. The youth section is under 17 for boys and under 17 for girls,” Tlhabano told Gazette Sport.

The purpose of the tournament is to continue giving athletes across the country competitive events, not only having events in Gaborone.. Strong players from Zimbabwe and Zambia come for such International open events, and this motivates some of our strong players such as International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho to have an international feeling when playing against other highly rated players from these countries.Youth section will act as preparation for our Africa Schools team that will be heading to RSA for the Africa Schools chess Championships from the 5th to the 13th of december. Botswana are the defending champs as they won the 2017 version of Africa Schools held in Zimbabwe,” reiterated the BCF President.

He further informed that they are looking at over 200 players taking part in this year’s event. He also confirmed that the country’s best and high ranking players have also registered for participation “We are looking at 200 plus players taking part this year. We are also expecting all the top players to participate,” he briefly said.

Meanwhile, Tlhabano described the 2018 season as a big success for his association. He explained that they were able to enter into a number of new partnerships, and also that administrators had joined along players in doing the country proud on the global stage.

“This has been a very successful year for us. We managed to host our maiden Debswana chess league, brought back Sowa Open, and had Debswana sponsored youth chess championships. BCF had the privilege to be visited by 2 grandmasters this year who trained our teams (ladies&open section) for the 2018 world chess olympiad held in Batumi Georgia. GM Nickolai Chadaev from Rusdia trained ladies team while GM Esam Elgindy from Egypt trained the open section team. The teams performed extremely well under this rare opportunity of having not only one GM but 2. The open section team moved 18 places up from their initial ranking from position 116 in the world to position 98 and ladies from 100 to 93. Its a great achievement. We saw Providence Oatlhotse win the Botswana International Open which was dominated by Zambian chess players in the past 5 years. A 12 year old Refilwe Gabatshwarwe also represented the youth well by scooping position 2. FM Phemelo Khetho won silver at the Zone 4.3 chess Championships, while WIM Onkemetse Francis brought home Bronze from the same games held in Maputo. Ministry of Basic Education has also supported us this year and the team that will be going to RSA for Africa Schools will be supported by the ministry. This is the 1st time we had such a partnership. WIM Tshepiso Lopang was voted the Vice president of Africa Chess Confederations, during the olympiad period. Dr Marape Marape recently received a nomination to be the chairman of FIDE medical commission. As if our blessings this year were not enough, we were privilaged to have 3 arbiters arbiting at the biggest stage, olympiad,” stated the head of BCF.