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Chess gurus arrive to drill local champs

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Chess Grandmasters Nikolai Chadaev(Russia) and El Gindy Essam of Egypt are expected in the country today (Wednesday). The two GMs will be in Botswana for a full-month training the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) senior national team ahead of the 2018 Chess Olympiad.

The Olympiad is scheduled for the 23rd September to the 6th of October in Batumi, Georgia. According to BCF president Mothokomedi Thabano, Chadaev will train the ladies side of Women International Master (WIM) Kgalalelo Botlhole, Onkemetse Francis, Chandapiwa Kgomotso Women Fide Master (WFM) Besa Masaiti and Boitumelo Radikoro. The men’s team of International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho Candidate Master (CM) Barileng Gaealafshwe, CM Thabo Gumpo and Moakofi Notha will be coached by Essam.

Going into the competition, Thabano said the intention is to send a well-prepared team to Georgia. Among other things, BCF will be looking to improve player rankings and hopefully acquire new titles.“I am confident that the team will compete once in Georgia; the national team has been busy at work almost every weekend. The return of the Chess league also played a major role in ensuring that our players stay engaged and their eyes fixed on the board,” he said.

The president added that they expect stiff competition ahead, especially that they will be playing without the experienced brains of Boikhutso Modongo on the ladies team. Modongo has always been the pillar and strength of the local ladies, however she excused herself citing personal reasons. Modongo’s absence means Francis and Botlhole will have to try and mother the team. Kgomotso, Masaiti and Radikoro will be marking their debut into the Senior National Team and will also be attending the Olympiad for the very first time. The Botswana team is scheduled to jet off to Georgia on the 21st of September.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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