An old English adage that ‘wisdom of age is better than the pride of youth’ seems to be a perfect definition of the robust efforts made by Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) to unearth upcoming chess talent.
The federation continues to explore and enhance programmes that help to retain experienced players and officials in order to continue tapping into their experience and wisdom for the development of the game.
The federations president, Tshenolo Maruatona said on the sidelines of the one-day Turbo Refrigeration Masters Open championships over the weekend, that they want retired chess players to be mentors to promising talent.
“When people grow they quit, now through this tournament we want to resuscitate their love for the game,” he said. Maruatona said they had decided to mandate the winners of the tournament to identify young chess players to develop.
In the past, winners identified schools such as Shadishadi Primary School in Kweneng and Tsogang primary amongst others and donated chess equipment to these schools.
Ranku Kesiilwe came out tops in the weekend’s tournament beating defending champion, Baone Kealeboga to the second spot while Dr Francis Banda came third.
Meanwhile the federation also hosted on the same day the second edition of the FIDE rated Botswana Junior Chess championships.
According to BCF’s technical ratings director, Vincent Masole, the annual youth tournament would provide good ground for preparation of the coming local and regional chess tournaments like the Botswana Games and the Africa Youth Chess championships.
Botswana hosted the 2010 tournament and scooped about 10 medals.
The two-day Botswana Junior champs, featured amongst other strong contenders for top honours, Otsile Mapine and Botswana’s youngest Women Candidate Master Naledi Marape.
The eight-year-old, Marape scooped gold in the recent Africa schools chess championships and stands a better chance to improve her title to Women Fide Master if she performs well in Zambia.
Currently, the highest rated chess player locally is International Master, Providence Oatlhotse with a record FIDE rating of 2 309, while on the females, Tuduetso Sabure holds the title of Grand Master.