The Botswana chess calendar takes off on a high note as the players brace to lock horns in the first tournament of the year sponsored by Airfficiency. The tournament dubbed Airfficiency Year Opener sets the ball rolling and is highly favoured for setting the tempo for the year. The tournament will be held on the 26th January at Mogoditshane Senior School.
The tournament brings together all chess players across the country who seek to start the year on a good note. With the evident equality in strength amongst the local chess players, the chess analyst have found it hard to predict the winner. Defending champion Fide Master Phemelo Khetho will have a busy time as he aims to increase his tally.
The country’s only International Master Providence Oatlhotse will grace the event with his presence. Oatlhotse is one of the most feared chess players in the country and the only local player to have won the national championship four times. His aggression on the board will be met by the defensive player in the country FM Ignatius Njobvu. Njobvu’s confidence is still beaming following his splendid performance at the Chess Olympics.
Some chess pundits argue that CM Barileng Gaealafshwe might walk away with the title. Gaealafshwe’s claim to fame is his meticulous end game play and his maturity on the board. An interesting development is the sudden improvement in strength amongst the younger players. The likes of Thato Olebile, Thabo Gumpo and Puso Mabetu have set a reputation as the giant killers.
The tournament will see the women tussle out in the women section. WIM Boikhutso Modongo has dominated women chess in Botswana for sometime. Her reign seems to be slowly being interrupted by the emergence of Kgalalelo Botlhole. Botlhole is one of the titled lady players in the country and bracing herself to challenge for the National championship.
The tournament is sponsored by Airfficiency to the tune of P12,000.The company which trades in medical and laboratory equipments is exploring other corporate social activities which they will drive through chess.