- Wants to bring back the excitement that was there before the pandemic
- Plans to restore tournaments halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will this year do all in its power to ensure that it revives chess and returns it to pre-COVID levels in the country, BCF secretary, Mokwaledi Tingwane, has said.
“Our plan this year is to bring back the excitement that was there in our chess community before the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told The Business Weekly Sports in a telephone interview. “We aim to do so by securing more sponsorships and increasing the number of tournaments played. “We are already in talks with potential sponsors, among them the Indian High Commission. They have committed to sponsoring a youth tournament that will be played at the High Commission at the beginning of next month.”
Tingwane disclosed that they will conduct an International Chess Federation (FIDE) World Cup Qualifier in Gaborone this weekend (tomorrow and Sunday). “And this qualifier will see the national team players (men) who competed at the Chess Olympiad squaring off to fight for a slot to represent the country at the FIDE World Cup to be held sometime this year,” he said. “We really want our national teams to be active this year but the main challenge is finances, which are always low. We are busy trying to source sponsorships for national team competitions that will be held this year.”
BCF 2022 reflections
BCF had a relatively good 2022 as it held several tournaments, among them the National Championship which was sponsored by Metropolitan for P152 800 (from P90 000 in 2020). This is the tournament that saw a teenager in Women Candidate Master (WCM) Refilwe Gabatshwarwe emerge the winner of the women’s section.
Still last year, BCF succeeded in conducting a league which was sponsored by Debswana. Through the league, the code maintained participation of young players. BCF also sent national teams (men and women) to the Olympiad which was held in India. The teams brought home titles of Fide Master, Candidate Master and one conditional WCM. BCF sent 11 athletes (6 girls and 5 boys) to the African Youth Chess Championships from where they won one medal through WCM Gabatshwarwe’s silver.
BCF also clinched a three-year partnership with Botho University for a tournament that specifically targets tertiary institutions and brigades for P45 000 per year. The Federation maintained its Botash sponsorship, the only tournament that BCF has outside Gaborone in Sowa Town. Meanwhile, The Business Weekly Sports is informed that BCF intends to bring back sponsorships that were halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the Masters Championship (Collins Chilisa Consultants), Gaborone International (Kalahari Associates), Kobe Rapid Championship (Kobe Trading) and Blitz (Roscoe Bona).