Botswana’s Rising Chess Stars Shine On International Stage

  • FM Gomolemo Ezy Rongwane and WCM Natalie Banda emerged U-23 and U-17 champions in African Amateur Chess Championships respectively


Botswana’s chess prodigies made their mark on the international stage at the 2023 African Amateur Chess Championships.

Fide Master (FM) Gomolemo Ezy Rongwane and Women Candidate Master (WCM) Natalie Banda emerged champions in the Under 23 and Under 17 categories, respectively, with outstanding scores of 6/7 and 8.5/9.

“We are really impressed by our players whenever they are given an opportunity to compete internationally,” said Mokwaledi Tingwane, Secretary General of the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) in a telephone interview.

World Amateur Chess Championships

Highlighting the exceptional performance of the champions, he noted: “FM Rongwane and WCW Banda have not only secured the African titles but have also earned the right to represent Botswana at the upcoming FIDE World Amateur Chess Championships.

“Their success is a testament to the enthusiasm, passion and determination that our young players bring to the game.”

Securing a silver medal with a commendable score of 7/9, Maya Otimile showcased the depth of talent in Botswana’s chess community. WCM Arona Moshoboro’s fourth-place finish further solidified Botswana’s presence on the international chess scene.

Cash prizes

FM Rongwane will be rewarded with $300 along with Mounguen Koumba of Gabon as they were level on points. WCM Banda will receive $250, Otimile $175, while Moshoboro will receive $75.

“The year 2023 was not without its challenges, but the resilience of our chess community prevailed,” said Tingwane, looking back on the year. “Our national championship, sponsored by Metropolitan Life Botswana, was successfully held.

“We sent two players to Greece for the World Schools Chess Championship, which was a rare feat. In the African Schools Online Championships, we brought home nine medals, qualifying for Greece.”


The African Youth Chess Championship witnessed the participation of around 12 players from Botswana, resulting in two medals and conditional titles.

“Our players demonstrated their prowess in various arenas, yet we faced a setback as the Chess League could not be organised but it is a vital component for our clubs,” Tingwane noted.

“Additionally, we strive to host at least six or more FIDE-rated tournaments to meet the demands of our chess community.

Prestigious tournaments

“We will work extra hard to bring the league back, organise prestigious tournaments like the Masters, and prioritise sending our players to major events such as the African Individual Chess Championship, which has been a while in the making.

“Our young players are hungry for success, and with high-quality coaching and unwavering determination, they are poised to make even greater strides in the world of chess.”