IM Oatlhotse Makes History with 7th Metropolitan National Chess Championship Victory

  • “It’s like a race,” he says of his victory after noting how he likes “the number seven and am happy to have won this for the seventh time”


International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse emerged victorious at the Metropolitan National Chess Championship, claiming the prestigious title for an unprecedented seventh time in the Open Category.

In an exclusive telephone interview with Gazette Sports, Oatlhotse was clearly- and understandably – elated. “It has eluded me for a while,” he said. “I like the number seven and am happy to have won this for the seventh time.”

His triumph solidifies his status as a legend in the chess world, surpassing his own record set in 2018 and etching his name in history alongside Phemelo Kheto, with whom he was previously tied at six victories.

Strategic acumen

Reflecting on his achievement, International Master Oatlhotse emphasised the intensity of the competition.

“It’s not like there’s no competition,” he said. “Other players are playing very good. They are very excellent. It’s like a race.”

But inspite of his success, IM Oatlhotse remains humble, acknowledging the formidable challenge posed by his competitors and underscoring the importance of strategic acumen in securing victory.

Early momentum

“This thing is about strategy. Collect as many points as early as you can,” he noted, likening the championship to a high-stakes race where early momentum is crucial.

For his remarkable performance, IM Oatlhotse was awarded a cash prize of P11,000, a testament to his exceptional skill and dedication to the game.

However, he was not the only standout player in the Open Category.

Monnaatsheko Keletshabile claimed the silver medal and earned a coveted spot on the Senior National Team that will represent Botswana at the Chess Olympiad in Budapest, Hungary in September while CM Thuso Mosutha secured third place and pocketed P 5,250 for his efforts.

A formidable force

In the Women’s Section, Women Candidate Master (WCM), Natalie Banda, defended her title for the second consecutive year, showcasing her mastery of the game and earning praise from the Botswana Chess Federation.

Her victory earned her a cash prize of P9,000, cementing her status as a formidable force in women’s chess. WFM Naledi Marape claimed the silver medal while WCM Refilwe Gabatshware earned the bronze, each demonstrating exceptional skill and determination.

Boitshepo Rebatenne’s impressive performance earned her a spot on the Women’s National Team, further highlighting the depth of talent within Botswana’s chess community.

In a statement, Goitsemodimo Makgatle, spokesperson for the Botswana Chess Federation, lauded the champions for their remarkable achievements, stating: “Their strategy, dedication and skill have earned them these prestigious titles.”