Home Sport Another victory for Tšephe

Another victory for Tšephe

by Lesotho Times
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Leemisa Thuseho

LOCAL chess starlet, Lebajoa Tšephe (18), has once again proved to be too hot to handle for local players after comfortably winning the Monafils Leribe Chess Open over the weekend.

The event, which attracted 33 players, was held at Molapo High School in Leribe, where Tšephe won all his games to claim the title.

He beat Bokang Motsamai, Thapelo Matsoso, Seeiso Phatela, Masupha Sefeane, Ketleho Phakisi, Tholoana Sello and the experienced Sechaba Khalema in the tournament.

The outstanding performance put Tšephe at the summit of the ranking table of the tournament with seven points, with another promising young player, 18-year-old Motsamai, coming second on six points. Third position went to Katleho Phakisi with 5.5 points, while veteran Joang Molapo settled for fourth position with five points.

Motsamai won all his other games and only suffered defeat when he faced Tšephe. Motsamai is ranked fourth in the country with 1597 rating points, while Tšephe is currently the second highest ranked player in the country with 1773 points. Tokelo Klaas tops the charts with 1828 points.

Tšephe is enjoying a purple patch of his career after winning the 2023 Basotho Year Opener at Good Night Lodge with six points a fortnight ago.

Before then, he had won the 2023 King’s Birthday Open Chess Tournament also held at Good Night Lodge in Maseru from 15 to 17 July.

Before the King’s Birthday competition, Tšephe was on the back of another victory when he won the 2023 Winter Open Chess tournament at Good Night Lodge on 1-2 July.

The previous month, he had won the 2023 Monafils Berea Open Chess Tournament held at Lioli High School in Teyateyaneng.

Speaking to the Lesotho Times in a recent interview, Tšephe said what helps him maintain his dominance locally is his strategy of always going for practice sessions with strong and top-ranked international players.

“I always request challenges from strong players outside the country,” Tšephe said.

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