BCF to assemble national team

06th April 2018
TALENTED: Francis is part of the national team Source:The Midweek Sun

Following a highly competitive Metropolitan Chess Championships held in Gaborone over the Easter Holidays, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) is expected to assemble a formidable national team of ten players by the end of this month. The team is expected to represent the country at the Chess Olympiad scheduled for September 2018 in Batumi, Georgia. So far, only four athletes being International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho, Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis and Kgaleleo Botlhole are certain of their places as the national team list is yet to be finalised. According to BCF spokesperson Kutlwano Tatolo, they will host another tournament to select the remaining best six players. She explained that they have to pick three best players on the ladies section and three more in the open section.

However, Kutlwano said it would not be an easy task given the level of seriousness portrayed by players on the board. She said majority of players appear thirsty to compete at the Olympiad and the weekend results are a testimony to this. “The tables have turned, Chess is no longer a one man show, even our former champions found it hard to defend their titles despite the level of determination and the splendid performance,” she said. Coming into the 2018 Olympiad, it is the sincere hope of the BCF that local players will manage to improve their rankings or better win a category medal despite the stiff competition ahead.

Back in 2016 at Baku Azerbaijan, WIM Boikhutso Mudongo Onkemetse Francis, WCM Thapelo Francis, Mbo Mabedi and Palesa Mooketsi represented the ladies team while the male team included the likes of Candidate Master (CM) Ndawana Mosenya, Moakofhi Nota, Keletshabile Monnaatsheko, CM Thuso Mosutha and Otsile Mapini. Francis is looking ready to make history at the event after maintaining an unbeaten streak before the last four rounds of her competition. New Zealand spoiled the party after beating her 3-1 in round eight. The Botswana women’s team was ranked 87th after the Olympiad, while Botswana men’s team debutants Mosutha and Mapini earned themselves Candidate Master titles. 

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