FIDE Master Phemelo Khetho with a FIDE rating of 2157 won the just ended Kobe Rapid Chess Championships held over the weekend in Gaborone Botswana. He finished with 8/9 points losing only one game against Rongwane Gomolemo of Botswana with a FIDE rating of 2080 who eventually finished with 7.5 points out of 9 games played.
FIDE Master Phemelo Khetho has been doing well in previous international tournaments which include the Olympiads which were held in Batumi, Georgia as well as
the All Africa games held in Morocco recently this year. He was tied on first position with Abdul Kamara, again of Botswana with a 1930 rating, they were separated on buccholz after finishing both on 8 points. Rongwane Gomelemo came third with 7.5 points out of 9 games played.
In another shocker of the tournament Thekiso Yaone defeated the Zambian national team player Kela Kaulule in the final round to finish on fourth position with 7 points. Mapini Otsile finished with 7 points and was tied on fourth position together with Thekiso Yaone. Kela Kaulule finished with 6 points out of the nine games which were played.
The highest rated player in the field was International Master Providence Oatlhotse of Botswana whose rating was 2200+, he finished with 5 points out of the nine games played. He ended at a shocking 28th position out of a possible 87 players who took part in this Rapid Chess tournament. Providence who had previously won the highly prestigious Chess Open which was hosted by Botswana becoming victorious in a star-studded field which was heavily infested with the Zambians among them International Master Gillian Bwalya, FIDE Master Douglas Munenga, Candidate Master Spencer Masango of Zimbabwe who was close but lost it in the final round and tge Malawians who did not perform well in this Rapid Chess tournament.
Simon Bokamoso finished with 6.5 points and could not make it in the final ranking of the winners. Candidate Master Ndawana Mosenya finished with 5.5 points out of nine games played which was more than 50% score of the overall number of games which they played.
In the ladies section Woman International Master Botlhole Kgalalelo of Botswana was the best lady who walked away with the winning trophy for the ladies section. She scored six points out of the nine games which were played in this tournament. Achieving a feat which some gentlemen failed to match. Woman FIDE Master Naledi Marape of Botswana again scored six points and was very close though she was pipped on buccholz to second position. The girl has been playing well in these major tournaments.
The winners FIDE Master Phemelo Khetho and Woman International Master Botlhole Kgalalelo won some individual trophies for taking the Championship home for the Open and Ladies sections as a motivator. They could not hide their joy as they were given the trophies as well as the cash prizes courtesy of sponsors who made this Rapid chess tournament and ensured that the tournament was played under some very conducive conditions which are best for a rated tournament of such a caliber.
The organizing team put up a spirited effort in the shortest possible time to come up with such splendid organization which led to the culmination of a wonderful tournament or a tournament of this magnitude.
Meanwhile in Harare Zimbabweans were busy playing their league games for the senior teams at the Harare Gardens and the game of the day pitted Harare City against Chi-Town Masters and the Citizens edged Chi-Town Masters by 3.5-2.5. CM Masango battled it out against the current National Champion Zhemba Jemusse and the National Champion prevailed over Masango in a tightly contested game on board one.
On board two Elisha Chimbamu drew against Tapiwa Chikwavaire while on board three Farai Hamandishe drew against Tawanda Pondo in a very interesting end game in which Hamandishe had some knights and passed pawns while Pondo had a Castle. Pondo fought tirelessly to secure a draw in the game. Woman FIDE Master Refiloe Mudodo drew against Moses Gweshe on board six in another exciting duel. Brian Takawira ensured that Harare City collected maximum points when he sacrificed a castle for a mate against Tatenda in a decider as the teams were tied on 2.5-2.5 in the five games played. His game was full of tension such that after winning the game he was not even sure of what his result meant to the team. He was equally puzzled when his teammates congratulated him after the game for winning the decider.