Botswana improves despite failure to win chess medals

Botswana has improved its rankings though its players failed to win medals at the just ended Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.

Though the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) had set a target of winning at least a medal in the open and women sections, the country’s chess players failed to deliver. The men’s team slipped out of the medal category in round 10 when they lost 1.5-2.5 to Portugal. The team finished fifth in category D behind Sri-Lanka, Lebanon, Cyprus and Jamaica. BCF spokesperson, Keenese Katisenge said despite the loss, the men’s team moved 21 slots in world rankings from 111 to 90. In Africa the team is ranked fourth.

Thato Olebile was awarded a FIDE Master title by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) after the Olympiad. Olebile becomes the third FIDE Master in the country after Phemelo Khetho and Ignatius Njobvu.

Katisenge said the award came after the player recorded one of the best performances at the competition. Olebile finished with a score of six out nine and a performance rating of 2,303 against his standard rating of 2,144.

The Botswana women’s team missed the medal category in round 10 after losing 3-1 to Dominican Republic. In world rankings, the women’s team moved up six slots from 94 to 88 while in Africa, it is fifth.

China won the open section while Russia triumphed in the women section. Meanwhile, BCF vice president-administration, Roger Tiroyamodimo has been appointed the Africa Zone 4.3 secretary following the 85th FIDE congress that took place on the side lines of the Olympiad. The Zonal presidency went to Malawi after Tshepo Sitale of Botswana became a FIDE board member. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov retained the FIDE presidency after beating legendary Garry Kasparov by 110 votes to 61. Katisenge said Tiroyamodimo’s appointment would give the country greater recognition in the international chess community.

“The appointment is in line with BCF and Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) objectives of increasing Botswana’s international representation in sporting bodies. The federation has absolute confidence that Tiroyamodimo will perform well in his new role,” said Katisenge. The Botswana team arrived in the country over the weekend.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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