2008 Botswana National Championship

Kenneth Boikhutswane, “Chess Season Kicks Off,” Mmegi/The Reporter, 25 January 2008 (Gaborone, Botswana).

The 2008 chess season kicks-off tomorrow at Naledi Secondary School with the first round of the national championships.

The event marks the first step in what is likely to be a rigorous battle to the national crown. All top players in the country will be present save for the two defending champions in FIDE Master Phemelo Khetho (men) and Tshepiso Lopang (women). The top 23 players in the open section advance to the second round to be played in two weeks’ time. In the women’s section, the top nine finishers will join Lopang in the finals scheduled for March.


Tshepiso Lopang
Defending National Women’s Champion

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) secretary Kefilwe Miti said that they intended to make changes to the competition but they abandoned the plans because the idea was not popular.

“Yes we did have ideas on revamping the championships but the furor surrounding the issue has been blown out of proportion even before BCF made any formal announcement regarding any changes. As such, there won’t be any changes,” Miti told Mmegi Sport.

FM Phemelo Khetho. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Players complained after BCF indicated in their 2008 schedule that only the top 20 will make it to the second phase together with three top seeds and Khetho (pictured right). Critics said anyone viewed as being good enough to qualify will make it to the round and needs no protection.

This being an Olympiad year, it is expected that chess will see an increased number of players taking part in tournaments in a bid to make it to the national team. The world chess Olympiad is scheduled for Dresden, Germany in November and Botswana is expected to field two teams at the event.

Tomorrow top players such as Ignatious Njobvu, Tebogo Pitlagano, Barileng Gaealafshwe, Providence Oatlhotse will be in action to try and impress the national team selectors.

In the women’s competition, formidable forces like Woman Grandmaster Tuduetso Sabure, FIDE Master Boikhutso Mudongo and Keitumetse Mokgacha will do battle. Though a lot of spectators will be keen to see some good chess, it is likely that they may leave disappointed as players usually go for the safety-first approach of qualifying to the next stage instead of taking risks.

As such, games involving top players will most likely end in draws. This stage of the championship has never failed to produce an upset and it is possible that one or two top players will not make it to the second round.

National team player Moakofi Notha said although his preparations have not been perfect, he is optimistic that he would qualify for the next stage. He is looking beyond the tournament to qualify for the national team as he wants to play in his second Olympiad. “The Olympiad is a special event and I want to be part of it this year. As such, I will work hard to see to it that I make the national team,” said Notha.

The draw for the second round will be done immediately after the first round qualifiers. The top 24 will make four groups of six players each. The top two in each group will make it to the final.

Full Story: https://allafrica.com/stories/200801280829.html


  1. Kenneth Boikhutswane
    Can you know unfold the results please.
    We want to know who qualified and how is the standings please. Any major upsets ??

  2. Hello everyone!
    The national champioship qualifiers is the first step towards winning the Botswana crown. This stage is an open, and all Batswana and residents of two years can play. Whatever the number of the field twenty three players qualify to the semis where they are joined by the defending champion, this time Khetho. In the ladies the top nine qualify straight to the finals.

    There were no major upsets really, safe for Baone Kealeboga who missed the penultimate round six. In a swiss format of 7 rounds and more than three hundred players taking part, losing two games is the end. The semis take place this coming Friday through to Sunday, where eight players will make the final. The twenty four players have been divided into four groups with top two qualifying.These are the groups;

    Group 1
    Phemelo Khetho , Jona Chaka, Bojosi Sabure, Edwin Kabelo, Kuda Mbikiwa and Cinky Boikanyo.
    Group 2
    Ignatius Njobvu, Themabani Major, Olebogeng Hosiah, Kenneth Boikhutswane, Israel Makwati and Desmond Sesweu.
    Group 3
    Providence Oatlhotse, Dumisani Mfanenyama, Seabelo Tlhaselo, John Hutcheson, Bright Sinkamba and Oaitse Wally.
    Group 4
    Tebogo Pitlagano, Moakofi Notha, Barileng Gaealafshwe, Gosego Maeze, Onkemetse Dintle and Bakani Maule.
    My personal opinion is that Khetho and chaka will go through in 1, but Sabure could squeez his way to the finals. I cant say much about my group, but it comprises 5 veterans and a junior in Desmond. It will be tricky and everyone has an equal chance. Group 3 is easy for providence, so the fight is for 2nd. I fancy Mfanenyama or Hutcheson to fight for that last spot. 4 is very interesting, and one of the first three named players will have to fall out. I really cant say who will make it as these players have played some interesting games between them with mixed results. It could all come down to colours.


  3. Kenneth
    Thats a great coverage Kenneth, please keep us updated about the upcoming qualifiers. Where is your other FM, who was sizzling at 2000 olympiad? He has been out of the picture for long, what actually happened?

    Thanks for updating us.

  4. He has been studying in Australia. Actually he called me three weeks back to tell me he is in Botswana but due to my tight schedule I havent had a chance to meet him. We talk regularly over the fone but he said there wasnt that much chess in the part of Australia where he was based, but lets hope he has kept studying and kept with the latest theory.
    By the way Abel, are you from botswana?A lot of guys have asked about you as you seem to be quite familiar with our chess and use words only known in botswana chess circles.

  5. Kenneth.
    Im from Botswana but currently im out of the country. Im now in Oslo-Norway for further studies . I just like chess and to keep in touch with the chess world. I have been trying the BCF website but it seems it has not been updated for ages. I was actively playing school chess during the Rupert era, and remembers you very well when you won that perfect score of 8/8 during the senior schools events on Bd 2 199????. I will be coming down to Botswana vey soon.

  6. Metropolitan Botswana National Chess Championships Qualifiers…….what a shocker!!!

    For the first time in 3 years Botswana is poised to have a new champion after FM Phemelo Khetho failed to make it to the finals from the 2nd round knock-outs.

    Phemelo’s group was as

    Phemelo – Cinky 0-1
    Jona Chaka – Phemelo 1 – 0
    Bojosi Sabure – Phemelo .5/.5
    Edwin Kabelo – Phemelo .5/.5
    Kuda Mbikiwa – Phemelo 0 – 1

    The results above provided a chance for Edwin and Cinky to brush aside Jona and Phemelo for the spots thought to be reserved for the duo.

    In the other groups, group 2, Ignatious Njobvu and Kenneth Boikhutswane made it to the finals, group 3 saw Providence Oatlhotse and John Hutcheson emerge victorious and in the last group, group 4, Moakofi Notha and Barileng Gaealafshwe edged through to the finals leaving former olympiad player, Tebogo Pitlagano in the cold.

    It remains to be seen who will lift the prestigious crown on March 24th.

  7. Speaking of acquaintances…

    I remember a very nice gentleman named Oscar Mayisela who I was told died some years ago. We met in America when he brought a team to the World Youth Championship in Chicago, USA. I analyzed with the team which consisted of school boys. We exchanged letters for years, but never met again. That was my first exposure to Botswana… a very positive one indeed.

  8. Nice come back Edwin and Cinky!
    I guess its one of the things that make the game more interesting, you never know what your oponent has up in his sleeve till he delivers that knockout blow! Its goin to be a real battle in the finals, whoever’s gonna win will hav a tough time in his compaign, Notha should put up a serious fight this time, its high time the young man adds a few digits to his 1998 rating.

  9. Nice to see my name mentioned in the above exchanges. Good to see John Hutcheson back after a few years off where he claims to have been coaching and what a big surprise to see Phemelo out Can John make it back into the Olympiad team? Of course I am still very close to Botswana chess especially with Kenneth writing all the articles as he was one of my school chess team (and we keep in touch) and generally know what is going on. And Daim it was me that told you about Oscar. What would be interesting to find out is where some of that team from 1983 are; players such as Stephen Kgatshe (Botswana Chesa Olympiad Team 1982 & 1988) who was last seen driving a taxi in Francistown and Moses Matjola (Olympiad Team (1986 & 88). And as for Abel in Norway, England are playing there this week or next. You should go along and introduce yourself to my friends Gawain Jones and Peter Wells, White Rose’s latest acquisition. I know Torsten Bae quite well too.

  10. Rupert,

    I remember meeting you in Spain, correct? You came to the press room and introduced yourself and we had a lengthy talk about Botswana chess. There was also another gentleman to whom I mentioned my acquaintance with Oscar Mayisela. He is seated in the photo below watching the blitz game. I hope I do not offend him by not remembering how to spell his name. I told one of the Botswana players that I had met Oscar many years ago and he asked me how I met him. I told him the World under-26 in Chicago. He then told me, “He died.”


    When the Botswana youth team was in Chicago (USA), I walked up to Oscar and introduced myself. I was there observing the tournament and was living in Chicago. I analyzed some games with the team and played Oscar a couple of games. I also gave him a few gifts to take back home and he was very appreciative. We wrote each other, but over the years the communication waned. After renewing communication, he told me that he had not been well. I told him that one day I would visit Botswana. Unfortunately, he would not live to see this, but I hope to keep my promise.

  11. Kenneth Boikhutswane, “Chess Finalists Brace for Showdown ,” Mmegi/The Reporter, 13 February 2008 (Gaborone, Botswana).

    The long-awaited finalists of the Botswana Chess Championships were decided over the weekend in what was probably one of the hardest fought semi-finals in recent times.

    The games, played at the National Stadium, saw the top two from each group of six make it through to the final to be played over the Easter holidays.

    The big story of the semi-finals is that defending champion FIDE Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho will not be defending his title as he crashed out. The FM, seeded top in Group One, started badly with a loss to Cinky Boikanyo in round one. A second defeat to Jona Chaka in the following round put his back against the wall, while a draw in the third round to Bojosi Sabure marked the end of the road. What transpired in this group was totally unexpected, as in the end it was Boikanyo and Edwin Kabelo who made it to the finals. Kabelo won the all-important game against Chaka in the final round when his opponent’s cell phone rang. He lost immediately. Boikanyo was made to sweat against Sabure but handled the pressure well to register an impressive victory with the black pieces. For Khetho, his play suffered most likely because he now has to balance chess and his professional life. As has been the case with many before him, this is a big challenge that he will have to overcome.

    Group Two resulted in victory for Kenneth Boikhutswane and Ignatius Njobvu, both players drawing against each other and defeating the rest. It was not easy for Njobvu though as in game after game he salvaged draws from dubious positions. Desmond Sesweu offered him a draw in a winning position, while Thembani Major faltered. He offered Njobvu a draw having a forced checkmate in three moves and being piece up. Yound Sesweu played well and will be hot to handle in the next edition. He lacked the mental toughness to convert the huge advantages he obtained into wins. For Boikhutswane, this tournament was another vintage performance by the veteran, he qualified with a round to spare.

    Providence Oatlhotse topped Group Three to qualify for his fourth successive finals. Joining him on second place was John Hutcheson, playing his first competitive tournament since 2004. Their meeting in round two saw Hutcheson outplay his younger opponent to record a good win. The loss appeared to have shaken Oalthotse, as against Dumisani Mfanenyama he laboured for a long time with a bad position. Had Mfanenyama kept a level head, Oatlhotse could have fallen by the wayside.

  12. Hello everyone!
    Good to see Bots championship semi finals generating so much interest. July where are you, is it Trinidad or jamaica? I hope you are plying some chess that side, i do read about their chess events but I’m still to see your name come up. Or are they too strong for you? And Abel, whats your surname? I cant remember that name but surely if you tell your surname then I will. And dont mention those school events of 1995! Actually i lost only one game to a student that year, Modisane keesi in the 1st round of the schools championships. Then won 6 in a row and drew Njobvu in the last round when i was winning but very short of time. He eneded up winning by hald a point. And as for teams i would always sweep evryone in my path, as on board two I was clearly stronger thatn the opposition.

    Rupert i did get your SMS yesterday but they get through after 4hr this side. Worse fro some reason I cant SMS Europe for past 5 days. Did try to SMS the results of the semis on Sunday evening but could go through. Some interesting chess was played but of course the story is the failure of Khetho to go through. I had the opportunity to play alongside him in two of his games. Nothing seemed to work for him and he missed a lot, particularly against Sabure. I think his professional life in getting in the way of his game, but he should be able to adjust soon. We have all gone through it and it takes some time to juggle work and chess.

    Interestingly Njobvu and Oatlhotse were also on the brink of missing out but somehow their opponents were generous. Njobvu seems to suffer from lack of practise. As in his match versus Khetho he could not construct plans easily and seemed unsure over some of his moves. He is going to be too hot to handle in the finals as he can see that he is behind the other guys in terms of strength. Oatlhotse was lucky to win against Mfanenyama. Hutcheson played well, as id Edwin and Cinky. Tebogo missed out after losing to both Barileng and Notha, but it was a tight group and anyone could have gone through.

    The finals will be an interesting affair, and hopefully some good chess will be played. I believe any of the finalists has a chance to lift the trophy come Easter.

    Oh Kwat, that scanda is not an opening that can be taken serious, but will play it again when we meet to see what you have up your sleeve. It can be quite problematic if one isnt prepared for it, but though I use it from time to time, I cant see it becoming my chief defence versus e4.

  13. Yeah Kenneth i get to play whenever i get the chance but right now i’m trying to concentrate much on gettin my work done, last year i had a chance to test my capabilities by planning in one of the tough invitation tourneys organised by our unirvesity and a lot of these guys who underestimated my skills fell victims to my Najdorf’s, Nimzos etc. but dont get me wrong these guys also play good chess, i also had an opportunity to play against Trinidad’s number 1 player FM Ryan Harper, very strong player, tried to go for the English attack against his sicillian to no avail. Good luck to everyone playing in the finals, and thanx for the updates Sir Boikhutswane.

  14. Botswana natives seem to go far away. On this blog, there is someone from Australia, Norway and Trinidad. The only time I met Botwana natives in the U.S. is in graduate school. Don’t see too many in the States.

    July… I was in Trinidad last August for a tournament. Did we meet??

  15. I dont think we meet because i didnt take part in that tournment, i heard about it but i never got time to play.. i also dont get enough time to prepare for tourneys.

  16. Hi Everybody,

    Kenny, what is up with Botswana telecommunications!!! Daaim, this time I have your name spelt correctly. Yes we did meet in Majorca. The person seated in that photo is Alex. Some very interesting results in the Qualifiers. Great to see John Hutcheson on song; is he eligible to play for Botswana. He has lived there long enough and that would be a great comeback. People often forgwet that John is a quality player; its just that he predates the internet and computer revolution and still does all his opening prep in a notebook. But look at his Botswana Olympiad form 1988,92,94 and 96; always plus scores. I only hope that this will not preclude Phemelo from making the botswana team; you need to get the strongest guys out and Abel are you there and did you go to see the 4 nations challenge this last weekend. Sweden 1 over England, Norway and Latvia I think. Back to sorting out my White Rose team for the very fast approaching next weekend.

  17. Very interesting to see so much talk about Botswana Chess. Mose its good to see that you are alive, you guys must get back to play competitive chess.

    I cant believe Barileng is counting himself out of winning the championship, must be a tough one hey!!

  18. Hello Mr Rupert
    I think you will be plesantly suprised to know that Mr hutcheson has been converted!He recently bought a laptop and he asked me to install for him Fritz and all the other chess programmes.I have been showing him how to use the programme(Fritz) and he likes it very much.About whether he can still play for Botswana i do not know.


    Hi Everybody,

    Kenny, what is up with Botswana telecommunications!!! Daaim, this time I have your name spelt correctly. Yes we did meet in Majorca. The person seated in that photo is Alex. Some very interesting results in the Qualifiers. Great to see John Hutcheson on song; is he eligible to play for Botswana. He has lived there long enough and that would be a great comeback. People often forgwet that John is a quality player; its just that he predates the internet and computer revolution and still does all his opening prep in a notebook. But look at his Botswana Olympiad form 1988,92,94 and 96; always plus scores. I only hope that this will not preclude Phemelo from making the botswana team; you need to get the strongest guys out and Abel are you there and did you go to see the 4 nations challenge this last weekend. Sweden 1 over England, Norway and Latvia I think. Back to sorting out my White Rose team for the very fast approaching next weekend.

  19. Hello

    Rupert, I really dont now what up with the network system but somehow its difficult to talk to the outside world. As for John playing, he can as per FIDE rules, but then the onus is on the Sports Council and BCF. As for Khetho, I dont think anyone can use just one event to eliminate him from the team. Its still not clear how they are going to select the team, but I have always maintained that the best way is to take the best ten players in the country and have them fight it out. Otherwise i dont see how someone who has not played chess at the highest level can do, especially as some of the BCF committe dont play chess at all. If they are to use any other system, then that can be easily made available for players to see. Otherwise a handpicked team will always raise eyebrows, especially as its clear some players and BCF have issues!

    Bax i happened to pass by the tournament in the main mall and there was talk that Edwin Kabelo will be everyone’s punching bag! But having worked with him before, I know most will be sorry for their words. Also miti’s point is a good one, dont you think you have a chance!? Cause personally I consider myself a big favourite for that crown!

    Later guys

  20. Good day everyone
    Its very unfortunate that I missed to witness the 4 nations. I was held up here at varsity, but should I had the chance I would have gone there. As for Kenneth do you remeber the chap who asked you about Kabelo Senyatso’s whereabouts and Thatayaone Molapisi’s cell number?

  21. Abel, there was an excellent article in a botswana paper last year I think about kabelo and his new job as editor of a Botswana Bird magazine. Ironically he is in the same line of work as my late wife and another one of my ex students. However Kenneth will know better.

    Which Moses is this?

  22. Ola Abel, sorry didnt know you were out of the country. You didnt say when you were at UB and naturally I assumed that you live in Bots. Senyatso is the Director of Birdlife Botswana, an NGO that protects the natural habitats of birds. I hardly see him as the nature of his job is such that he is in the bush most of the time. However we do talk over the phone and keep in touch.

    Jones I doubt if you have met July, he played chess at a very late age and must have been 5 standards behind me. He is a useful player and has reached the semis of Bots championships on 2 or 3 occassions.

  23. Kenneth,
    Can you please unfold the detailed final results, as I suppose were played over the easter holidays?

  24. Abel,

    Kenneth will provide a complete report later. He sent the following preliminary report the other day:

    Hello everyone! Hope all of you are in good health.

    As you might be aware the Botswana championship was played over the easter holidays. In the open section this was how it turned out.

    1. Providence Oatlhotse 5.5/7
    2. Ignatius Njobvu 5
    3. John Hutcheson 4
    4. Moakofi Notha 3.5
    5-6. Barileng Gaealafshwe & Boikhutswane 3
    7. Cinky Boikanyo 2.5
    8. Edwin Kabelo 2

    1. WFM Boikhutso mudongo 6.5/7
    2. Tshepiso Lopang 6
    3. Ontiretse Sabure 5
    4. Keitumetse Mokgacha
    5. Keenese Katisenge
    6. Thabiso Moremi
    7. Masego Pilane
    8. Kenako Motupi

    NB: I dont have actual scores for the ladies as I am constructing all this from my head. Daaim I will send you a comprehensive report on the event which all can access on your http://www.thechessdrum.net

    Thanks and regards

    kenneth Boikhutswane

  25. This message is for Thatayone Molapisi. Tell him to contact his people in Canada. They are searching for the M.I.C.K.

    best of luck with the chess!


    Andy Beaton

  26. Hey hi guys! I’m glad to connect with u guys! I’m missing a lot of fun that I used to have back the with the chess community, tournaments of all the sorts! I’m currently living in Australia, and it seems like it’s a bit far behind with chess!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button