Lesotho players thumped in chess tourney

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Leemisa Thuseho

ALL nine of Lesotho’s chess players were last weekend humiliated during the Arab-African Individual Open Chess Championship after being booted out in the first stage.

The three-day event started on Friday and ended on Sunday was organised by the Arab Chess Federation and the African Chess Confederation.

All Lesotho players failed to pass the preliminary stage in both the male and female categories.

In both categories, only the top 30 players were to advance from the preliminary stages.

In the male category, Lesotho’s top player, Sechaba Khalema finished 68th. In the ladies’ category, Lesotho’s ‘Malehloa Likhomo finished 334th.

The tournament had 1434 players.

Lesotho was represented by Khalema, Libe Sofonea, Kamohelo Koetle, Matšepo Tšiu, Maboloko Leboela, ‘Malehloa Likhomo, Selatela Khiba, Tokelo Klaas and Lehlohonolo Sekhotho.

Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) public relations officer Selatela Khiba said the competition was tough and the tournament format required players to play multiple games within short time and was therefore challenging.

“The field was tough for our players because this was the first time playing so many games within such a short time,” Khiba said.

“Some complained of getting tired in between games.”

He however, lauded the tournament organisers saying the platform was imperative for the growth of players especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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