Chess Team Confident Ahead of Zonal Champs

| April 16, 2015

The Botswana chess team is ready for the Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championships contested by players from Southern African countries.

The team of four players will leave on Friday (April 16) for Malawi where the championships will be held from April 17-26. The team comprises two male players Thato Olebile and Clifford Masole and two females Thapelo Francis and Koziba Mokhuzeni.

The competition will be played in the open and women’s sections and federations are allowed to enter a maximum of five players in each category, but Malawi as hosts, will have the privilege of fielding seven players in each category.

It will be the third year in a row that Thato Olebile, who holds the title of FIDE Master (FM), will be competing at the event. He attained his FM title at the 2013 championships that were held in Gaborone and came close to winning the competition in Namibia last year, but lost in the final round.

“I want to try by all means to win this time around and qualify for the chess world cup. My target is to play better than last time,” said the 23-year-old En Passent Chess Club player, who started playing chess as a junior at Gold Mine JSS in Francistown.

He pointed that he has prepared for the Championships by studying the chess moves of some top players in the region which he would likely play against.

Thapelo Francis, who claimed a silver medal in the 2013 edition in Gaborone, was equally upbeat for the competition.

“The competition will be tough but I have prepared well. I want to win it and qualify for the world cup, or at least have my title upgraded to Women International Master,” said 21-year-old Francis, who currently holds a Women FIDE Master (WFM) title.

Francis will not be lacking in big event experience after representing Botswana at the Chess Olympiad last year.

Botswana Chess Federation spokesperson, Keenese Katisenge has explained that the four players were picked from the provisional national team selected for 2015. She said the federation has decided to go for mixture of youth and experience in its selection.

According to Katisenge, the federation believes that Olebile and Francis have enough experience to win the competition or have their titles upgraded, while Masole and Mokhuzeni have been sent to gain exposure and experience.

She said the federation had wanted to hold a practice camp for the team, but that failed because the players were not released from their respective schools.

According to information from the hosts, the Chess Association of Malawi, the Championships will be played using a nine-round Swiss System format, and time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

The Chess Association of Malawi also said winner of the Open Section will be awarded International Master (IM) title, while winner of the Women’s Section will be awarded the Woman International Master (WIM) title.

The winners in the Open Section will also qualify for the 2015 FIDE World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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