Botswana is definitely doing something right in their grassroots development of young girl chess players. Young and talented girls are rising in Botswana. They are shrugging off some stiff competition from the older ladies in the chess profession. This is evidenced by the astounding and unprecedented dominance of the young girl chess players as well as the triumph of WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe in the recently concluded Aireffeciency tournament.
This was a 7 round tournament which also featured the experienced, and Botswana’s only Woman Grandmaster Sabure Tuduetso and other upcoming young female players. Among these were the likes WFM Tamuhla Londani including the vicious tiny tot duo of WCM Natalie Banda (12) and WFM Naledi Marape (13) as some of the favorites to lift the trophy.
It was the day for the young Woman Candidate Master Refilwe who only drew a single game out of the seven games played. She finished as the winner with 6.5 points and she was indeed a clear winner pocketing a cool 2000 pula for her efforts. Onkentse Francis could not hide her joy for the young player when she posted on social media congratulating her, “Congrats to Refilwe. Splendid performance girl!”
Dr Marape also congratulated the player and the coach for the consistency and improvement.
The second placed player was a full point behind the winner and that was Boitumelo Radikoro who had five and a half points, for her efforts she pocketed 100 pula. WGM Sabure came third with five points out of the seven games played and she got 700 pula. She was tied with WCM Natalie Banda on the same number of points who was pipped on buccholz in the end she pocketed 500 pula. Fifth position went to Woman Fide Master Tumuhla Londani who finished with 4.5 points and collected 75pula. The other players who were tied on fifth position got the 75 pula cash prizes, sharing the 300 pula were: Lekoko Rosirang, WFM Naledi Marape and Ndachipiwa Kgomotso who all had 4.5 points. The total cash prize fund for the ladies was 4500.
In the males category International Master Providence Oatlhotse won the open section with 6.5 points out of seven games played another good performance after coming second at the Zimbabwe 2018-19 Open chess tourney which was won by International Master Gillian Bwalya of Zambia. FIDE Master Phemelo Kheto came second with 6 points. There was a four- way tie and the others were Thekiso Yaone, Candidate Master Mosutha Thuso, Tangani Goabaone completed the list on those with four points. They all shared the prize money equally and each one got 1050 pula for their efforts.
Oratile Kgotlane got 5.5 points and collected 300 pula for his efforts. The total prize fund for the open section was 7500 pula. This was a well-organized chess tournament held at Legae Academy in Gaborone, Botswana. However, the defending Champions for both the ladies and Open section failed to come and defend the titles and this paved way for new winners.
CM Barileng Gaealafshwe and Onkentse Mendu Francis could not make it due to work commitments for the open section and ladies section respectively. The Publicity Director of Botswana Chess Federation thanked the sponsors Airfficiency for their continued support of chess. Here is what other chess players said to IM Providence: Godwin Phiri said “this is too much congrats anyway” while IM Gillian Bwalya said, “congrats”. Thomas Zulu was inspired by the winner and could not hide it he opined that, “congratulations my brother now that’s inspiration.”