THE Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) successfully hosted a two-day chess tournament last weekend to commemorate His Majesty King Letsie III’s 58th birthday.
His Majesty celebrated his birthday on 17 July 2021.
The tournament was held at Maqalika Scenery Guest House on Saturday and Sunday.
Although the tournament is an annual event, last year’s edition was cancelled on the back of Covid-19-induced lockdown restrictions.
The event saw Bokang Motsamai (16) being crowned champion after collecting 5.5 points in six rounds. Motsamai pocketed M1000 for his troubles.
Motsamai also walked away with the best junior award which earned him a further M200.
In second place, Lesotho’s top ranked chess player Tokelo Klaas was tied with reigning national champion Lebajoa Tšephe, Seboka Bakoena and Nzema Ngakana all with five points each. They each took home M250.
‘Malillo Phera and Ntsielo Bonolo were named the best ladies in the tournament and they shared M200.
Thoko Motsamai, who coaches Motsamai, said he has been expecting the player to one-day win one of the local top tournaments.
“I am happy for him (Bokang), I have always been expecting great things from him ever since I noticed how much he enjoys playing chess,” Thoko said.
The tournament will also be used to select the national team for the Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship to be held in Lesotho in November this year.
Thoko is hopeful that Bokang will qualify for the tournament.
“He is yearning to play in the Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship. He has all the attributes and is always training.”
The weekend tournament was the second chess event to held over the board following last month’s Winter Open Chess tournament. Since March last year, all the chess events have been held online to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
CFL deputy secretary general Khiba Selatela said while the event was successful, he was unhappy with the low participation of women.
“We had a very successful event. We had 4 players but they there were just a few women. However, we are humbled that our winner is just a young player,” Selatela said.
After the Kings Birthday event, the association is looking forward to hosting the Spring Chess Open Championship at end of this month before the Basotho Year Opener Chess Championship in mid-August.
A Round Robin tournament, which will mark the end of the Zone 4.5 Championship qualifiers will follow at the end of August.