Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Keenese Katisenge says even though the team that represented the country at the just ended Africa Junior Chess Championship in Angola failed to bring home silverware BCF is not entirely disappointed with them.
BCF had sent Otsile Mapine and Malebogo Sokisi to represent the country in both the boy’s and girl’s categories respectively.
The tournament attracted a total of eleven countries which included Algeria, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Egypt, Swaziland, Namibia, Uganda and Mozambique. In the boys section Mapine finished in position seven while Sokisi only attained position 13 in the girls category.
Katisenge said they are not disappointed with results since competition was tough.
“There were a lot of titled players at the tournament than our players,” said Katisenge. She said lack of experience could have worked against the local players, adding “it was the first time these players played in a tournament of this calibre as a result they lacked experience as compared to their opponents”.
Katisenge said the players are getting some exposure and they will do well in future. She said the two were chosen because of their consistent good performance, discipline and commitment to the game of chess in the past two years.
Katisenge feel they will grow into strong players in future. “They started the tournament very well, especially Sokisi who won two of her opening games. I think she was only unable to withstand the pressure as the games went on and started losing,” she said. According to Katisenge, should they work on their momentum throughout the tournaments they will go places.
On why only two players were sent to the championships though there are a number of promising young chess players locally, Katisenge said they couldn’t secure sufficient funds. “It would not have been good not to send anyone there because it would be like we are punishing the players,” she explained.
She said they will always send players to every regional and international tournament available to afford them exposure and experience at high level games. “It is our hope that resources will let us send a good number of players to such tournaments in the future,” she said.