Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) has restarted the chess league following a five-year drought. The last league games were in 2010 when the then sponsors Mahindra pulled out. According to BCF Public Relations Director Keenese Katisenge, the association has taken the decision to start the league to push forward their mandate of development, especially at grassroots level. BCF is one of the sporting codes in the country that take development seriously.
Since sponsorship has always been the main stumbling block, this year’s league will be self-sponsored by BCF to the tune of P60 000. Katisenge said the federation has always felt that having no league compromises the development of chess locally. She explained that this is why this year they took a bold decision to start the league even without the sponsorship.
She said the league will keep the players active and create a platform for younger players to have a regular match time as well as popularise the game of chess across the country by encouraging regions to form clubs to participate in the league. “Botswana Chess federation believes that the clubs are the breeding grounds for talent. So the league is an opportunity for young Batswana players to be part of a more organised set up where they can monitor their growth in the game,” said Katisenge.
Over the past six years chess players only participated on random tournaments organised by the federation. According to Katisenge, this has not been enough to give the players playing time to ensure that they developed. The league commences this weekend and is expected to attract 15 teams.
BCF has pleaded with sponsors to come on board and help grow the game.