Lesotho to host regional chess championship

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Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho Chess Federation has been handed the hosting rights of the 2020 Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championship by the Africa Chess Confederations.

The Championship will be a five-day fide rated event of three sections being zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championship classic, rapid and blitz and is expected to attract at least 10 countries.

The event will start on 12 February 2020 although the venues are yet to be announced, it will however, be held in Maseru.

Lesotho Chess Federation public relations officer Khiba Selatela said they are honoured to host the tournament.

“The federation and the chess community are happy to get the hosting rights of the 2020 championship,” Selatela told this publication.

“We already have high hopes that the event will be a success based on the recent performance of our players in international tournaments.”

He said the tournament will also help boost the economy and the country’s tourism sector.

“We are expecting not less than ten countries and surely their presence will also boost the economy of our country as well as the tourism sector.

“The home advantage will also play a big role on how our players will perform in the tournament.

“The sport has grown exponentially in the country. We started at the bottom of the world rankings. Most of our players never imagined themselves playing in very important games like the World Olympiad and the African Championship just to mention a few,” Selatela said.

Some of the countries expected to take part in the tournament include Botswana, eSwatini, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and the hosts, Lesotho.

Selatela also said that the federation will soon embark on a project to introduce chess in schools.

He said the initiative will be boosted by the fact that their president Tšeliso Motloheloa has been elected by the continental chess body as one of the instructors in a chess education programme.

“Our president has been elected as one of the instructors in the chess education programme by the continental mother body and will be assisting federations mostly in southern Africa to introduce chess in Schools.

“He will also organise training for others who will be working on the programme to introduce the sport in schools,” he said.

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