Like any other sport in the world impacted by the novel corona virus pandemic, local chess players did not succumb to its bearings instead, they resorted to online training. Chess technology is easily accessible, tutored and played online.
Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) decided to return to the basics by resorting to online chess technology in order to keep their players engaged during the lockdown period. All sporting codes were recently given a green light to resume training and competitive activities after two months of no action due to the pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with Patriot Sport, BCF President Motlhokomedi Tlhabano says they’re ready to resume chess activities as soon as possible because they have been keeping up online. “We have been having consistent online activities since lockdown and now our players have started training in their respective regions due to the covid-19 zonal movement restrictions. We have seen a huge improvement in our players interms of skills and play that they have acquired from these engagements. We are ready for any official tournament we are only waiting to hear from the government superiors regarding the official start of competitions without movement restrictions,” he said.
He further stated that their priorities are on hosting the postponed competitions within their calendar so that they can be able to select the National teams. “We had two important events in the pipeline including the national championship that was billed for April, the national league and national team selection tournaments that we intend to begin with as soon as everything opens unconditionally. We don’t need a lot of preparations we have been practising a lot online. The only concern would be the venue for competitions since we have been using hotels and lodges so we don’t know whether they will be available,” Tlhabano added.
Patriot Sport caught up with various chess players and they echoed the words of their president confirming their readiness to resume competitive activities in chess. “I have been hard at training online which I believe it has improved my play and bettered my skills, I can’t wait to face my opponents live. This period really helped most of us in many ways and I believe that our national teams will be strong than ever,’’ said Woman Candidate Master Refilwe Gabatshwarwe .
Candidate Master Thabo Gumpo also said he is ready to move the pieces with his real opponents, so he try the skills he learnt through online practice during lock down. “Chess keeps us busy and it is a refreshing sport and I am ready to play live competitions again. We have been drilling youngsters on the sport more so that they are not familiar with the technology online and I happy that they are coming up so well,” he said.