Young chess sensation wins silver in Zambia
The Botswana team has managed to bring back only two medals; a silver and bronze, from the 2015 African Youth Chess Championships in Lusaka, Zambia.
Mon 14 Dec 2015, 12:49 pm (GMT +2)
Young Woman Candidate Master, Naledi Marape, however, hogged the limelight despite narrowly losing out on a Woman FIDE Master (WFM) title.
The nine-year-old Marape won a silver medal in the Under-10 girls group, which had stiff competition.
The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson, Keenese Katisenge told Monitor Sport yesterday that Marape proved to be the toughest contender as she dominated the group checkmating her opponents with ease and winning very complicated games.
At the end of the rounds, Marape tied on points with Woman Candidate Master Chabane Lina of Algeria with both accumulating seven out of nine points. The head-to-head tiebreak gave the gold medal to the Algerian with Marape settling for silver.
“If Marape had won the WFM title, she would have gone down in the annals of history as the youngest player to ever win the title for Botswana. She would have been a true demonstration that indeed investing in grassroots development is a sure way of producing the needed talent for sports. She would have also demonstrated that with parental support, a player can achieve his or her dreams,” Katisenge said. She said the Marape family has been working hand in hand with BCF to support young talent and Naledi is a shining example of that talent.
She added that the association is happy with her performance and that her level of play has improved. In the Under-14 girls category, another Botswana player Besa Masaiti was equal to the task netting a bronze medal in a group that was won by another Algerian chess prodigy. Katisenge said the competition brought the BCF calendar to a close on a high note with an impressive performance. She said the African Youth Championship brings together the toughest youth chess players from all over Africa ranging from ages six up to 17 years.
She said the just ended competition was no exception as chess power houses like Egypt and Algeria sent in their top players in good numbers. The tournament attracted 230 players from different nations. Botswana sent a 12-member delegation for different age group competitions from eight years to Under-18. “The entire Botswana team showed massive improvement with most of the players narrowly missing out on medal positions after losing in the last rounds,” Katisenge said. Marape arrived home yesterday while the remaining team members will arrive today.
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