Maun — FIDE Master (FM) Thato Olebile was crowned champion of the Maun International Open chess tournament for the second year in a row on over the weekend.

Olebile, who won the Gaborone International Open earlier this month, played seven matches in the prestige category, winning six and drawing one to finish with 6.5 points. Olebile walked away with a medal and P2000.

 The prestige section attracted 32 players, among them top Maun based players like FIDE Master Bojosi Sabure, who scooped position two while Elias Success got position three.

In the open-open section 35 players, most of them students from junior and senior schools, battled out. Kagiso Senior Secondary School from Ramotswa dominated the section with FM Kinsley Mokwena scooping position one and winning P550 cash followed by Oratile Kgotlane and Goabaone Sera.

Winning players were also awarded certificates and medals. The youngest Maun based player, Tefo Pitlagano aged 8 from Delta Waters English Medium School was given a medal and a chess kit to motivate him.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the tourSource :nament, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) public relation officer, Keenese Katisenge said the tournament which started in 2013 has grown significantly.

Katisenge said the federation had decided to change the format event to a FIDE Rated Standard event, moving from the unrated rapid event. She said BCF started the event as a pilot project and was impressed with its growth in terms of attendance and level of play.

Katisenge also revealed that rating the event with the World Chess Federation (FIDE) also contributed to their strategic objective of increasing the number of rated players in the country.

The tournament, which is an annual event, was sponsored by Maduo Lodge which provided free venue and accommodation, Airfficiency (Pty) Ltd with P5000, and Cali Clothing with t-shirts.