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Debswana to sponsor first chess league in years

Debswana to sponsor first chess league in years
February 12
13:42 2018
  • League to run for four years
  • BCF excited that Botswana will go to the next Chess Olympiad

By Baitshepi Sekgweng

The Publicity Secretary of Botswana Chess Federation (BCF), Kutlwano Tatolo, is excited because the upcoming chess league will end a long dry spell during which chess had no competition that catered for team events.

“It’s a welcome development to be able to start the league because players are going to benefit a lot in terms of getting more game time,” Tatolo told Global Sport.

Under the auspices of mining giants Debswana, the league is scheduled to be launched in Gaborone on Thursday this week and officially start on the 17th of this month.

It will run for six months and be open to all BCF-affiliated clubs.

While more details of the partnership – including the value of the sponsorship – will come to light at the official launch, it is has been revealed that the deal will run for four-and-half years.

“In the past we emphasised more on tournaments for individual players, which has led to an unintended impairment of teams,” Tatolo noted. “Players will now have an opportunity to play in groups, which should improve teamwork.

“We have also been failing to send players to tournaments that specialise in team events because there was no platform where our players could gauge themselves in terms of team events. So we really expect this league to plug this gaping hole.

“The biggest international competition is the Chess Olympiad, which is a team event. Most of our affiliates are clubs, hence we want to promote club activity and make sure that from now onwards we are able to send a Botswana team to the Olympiad.”

According to Tatolo, the league is structured in such a way that everyone will benefit.

“We expect each club to field one team,” she said. “There is no team B or C. So a team can field a maximum of eight players and from this, four are the club’s best players while in the remaining four one slot is strictly for a lady and three four junior players. We don’t want a situation where a team fields all their star players.

“The idea is to give everyone a chance, especially young players. That’s why we came up with this structure. We are also trying to relax the laws so that most clubs may affiliate and register for the league because at the end of the day, we want chess to prevail and more people to play the sport. We will play two rounds a month in Gaborone, Francistown, Orapa and Jwaneng.”

Before the league kicks off, club championships will be organized in order for clubs to familiarize themselves with the setup and requirements of the league.

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