CFL announces team for Zone 4.5 Chess Championship


Leemisa Thuseho

THE Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has named its team for the upcoming African Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship.

Lesotho will host the event for the first time from 5 to 13 March at Scenery Guest House in Maseru.

In preparation for the event, Lesotho has named 12 players.

Six males and six females with one substitute in each category.

The males’ team will be led by top-ranked player and candidate master (CM) Tokelo Klaas and veteran (CM) Joang Molapo.

Klaas is heading into the tournament highly motivated after being crowned national champion last month.

The list also consists of former national champion, Tshepe Lebajoa and second-ranked player, Sechaba Khalema.

Nzema Ngakane is also part of the team while Bahlakoana Ntšonyana has been named as the standby player.

The ladies’ team is made up of Reitumetse Taioe, Boitumelo Sethabathaba, Nteboheleng Thetsane, ‘Malillo Phera, Bonolo Ntsielo and woman candidate master (WCM) Maboloko Leboela. ‘Malehloa Likhomo is the substitute.

CFL secretary general, Tlhoriso Morienyane, this week said the players were already hard at work.

“All is going well and the players are preparing individually remotely,” Morienyane said.

He said the players would not have a camp prior to event due to financial challenges. Even during the tournament, the players will commute from their respective homes.

Team’s registration deadline was on Monday and Morienyane confirmed that the registered countries are Botswana, Namibia, Angola, eSwatini and South Africa.

Initially, the event had been scheduled for March 2020 but was later postponed to last November on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, it was postponed again to this March after the African Chess Confederation (ACC) suggested that the games be moved citing financial challenges.

The ACC also said that it wanted to give the region a chance to prepare and host the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games without any disruptions. The AUSC games were held in Lesotho last December.

The event is fully sponsored by ACC and the winner of the open section will walk away with US$1500 (about M22 090).

The second and third placed players will pocket US$1000 and US$750 respectively.

The winner in the women’s section will pocket US$1000 while the second-placed player will take home US$750.

Apart from the monetary prize, the open section winner will also be awarded the International Master (IM) chess title while the women’s section winner will get a Women International Master (WIM) title.

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