Seven of Botswana’s most decorated young chess players will depart for Turkey on April 16 to go and compete at the 2019 World Schools Chess Championships. The tournament will run from April17 to 27, 2019.
The team comprises of Woman Fide Master Besa Masaiti, Woman Candidate Master Refilwe Gabatshwarwe, Orefile Moatshe, Laone Moshoboro, Atlang Mosweu, Ruth Otisitswe, Keaobaka Rankwane .The team is led by Coach Ndawana Mosenya after IM Providence Oatlhotse excused himself from the role due to personal commitments.
The players qualified for the tournament following their good exploits during the Africa Schools Championships in South Africa last year. During the continental championship WFM Masaiti, Otisitswe, Gabatshwarwe and Mosweu all won gold in the Under 17 , 15,13 and 11 girls’ categories, achievements which gave them automatic qualification to the competition. The trio of Moshoboro, Moatshe and Rankwane also qualified as gold medal winners in the girls Under 9 and boys under 7 division respectively.
However all eyes will be on WFM Masaiti, WCM Gabatshwarwe and Otisitswe who possess massive experience in the game. They are the only junior players who have qualified for the Metropolitan National Chess Championships finals ahead of some of chess heavyweights.
WFM Masaiti(16) also has Chess Olympiad experience after performing well last year gathering six points out of 11 despite making her first appearance.
Masaiti has declared her readiness for the competition. “I have been downloading all games of my possible opponents and studying them. In order to build a correct base on how to approach the tournament I have researched on usual openings and have been training with my personal coach. There is nothing that will hamper me from succeeding except if I start doubting myself. So I’m going out there to win gold medal and show that females and Africa as a whole has the potential to dominate at the world stage. And my hope is for all the team members to win gold,” said Masaiti.
Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) secretary general Mokwaledi Tingwane has explained that the ladies section of Metropolitan Championship will be played later in order to give Masaiti, Otisitswe and Gabatshwarwe ample time to compete at the World event.