Botswana Botswana Botswana

Kenneth Boikhutswane, "Njobvu retains chess title," Mmegi, 4 October 2006 (Gaborone, Botswana).

Ignatius Njobvu has successfully defended his Botswana Open Chess Championship title. The Botswana chessman retained the title over the long weekend on better tie-break after finishing on the same number of points with Jona Chaka of Zimbabwe and Chitumbo Mwale of Zambia.

The trio finished the four- day tournament that started on Friday with six out of the maximum seven points by Njobvu's superior Bucholz of 32.5 saw him emerge tops. Chaka was second with 31.5 while Mwale trailed with 30.5. However, all the three players shared the top prize - P2,233 each - as tie-breaks are used to decide medals only. The tournament was co-sponsored by Letshego Legal Guard and Metropolitan Botswana who contributed P15,000 and P5,400 respectively, while Mondior Summit offered a weekend accommodation for the winner.

Ignatius Njobvu (Botswana)

Ignatius Njobvu
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

In the women's section, Boikhutso Mudongo ended Woman Grand Master (WGM) Tuduetso Sabure's domination as she raced to the top spot with 4.5 points out of seven. Sabure finished with 3.5. Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Mudongo got P400 while the WGM was consoled with P200. Keitumetse Mokgacha finished third and received P100. Desmond Sesweu of Gaborone Secondary School got the best junior prize of P200 after accumulating 3.5 points. Otshepo Seidisa of Maun Secondary School was the top junior girls' section and got P200.

The tournament was a hard-fought affair and it was not until the last round that the winner emerged. The last round pairing had Njobvu versus Timothy Kabwe, tournament leader and FIDE Master (FM) Farai Mandhizha of Zimbabwe against Mwale while Chaka was up against Botswana FM Phemelo Khetho. Most people believed that Mandhizha would be the winner as he had beaten Mwale in previous meetings in African junior events. Njobvu was the first to register victory while Chaka won in the final 10 minutes of the four-hour session. In board one, Mwale offered Mandizha a draw in move 15 but the Zimbabwean FM rejected this outright. It proved costly in the end as an oversight forced Mandizha to be on the defensive. Mwale pressed home his advantage to leave the FM wondering how a tournament that looked all but won had gone wrong.

Speaking to Mmegi Sport after the tournament, Mwale said he wanted the event to be played over nine rounds. "Look, I have won a share of first prize but I didn't play my co-winners. In this way, we could have had a clear winner," said the Zambian.

Farai Mandizha of Zimbabwe scored a solid result including a draw with GM Nick DeFirmian.

Zimbabwe's Farai Mandizha
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

Njobvu told Mmegi Sport after the tournament that he did not expect to win because he did not prepare. "I didn't have anything special for this event hence my games were too solid. All I wanted was to be in the top five but this shows that I am still the best player in the country," said the shy champion. The veteran Chaka said that he would like to encourage younger players to keep playing and not give up when things are tough. The ever-cheerful player advised the youngsters that they must not give up. "Some of us have been playing for more than 20 years and it is only now have I won an event."

The General Manager of Letshego
Keletsositse Olebile said that his company is committed to helping those with worthwhile proposals. He added that they are grateful and honoured to be associated with chess. "We have a social responsibility as a company and we never turn away any proposal that is beneficial. We like particularly those initiatives that are geared towards helping the youth." He hoped for a fruitful partnership with chess.


Posted by The Chess Drum: 5 October 2006