M22k prize for chess tourney winner

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE winner of the open section in the 2021 Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship will walk away with US$1500 (about M22 090), the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has said.

The event will run from 5 to 13 November at Scenery Guest House in Maseru.

Lesotho is hosting the event for the first time with the assistance of the African Chess Confederation (ACC).

In the invitation letters sent to all ACC member countries, the CFL said the event would have an open section and a women’s section.

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 monetary prize, 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.

Lesotho was meant to have hosted the tournament between March and April last year but it was postponed on the back of Covid-19 pandemic.

CFL secretary general Tlhoriso Morienyane told the Sunday Express that they have already sent invitations letters to all member countries. He said they are expecting between 40 to 100 players.

The tournament will be partly sponsored by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) through ACC.

“We have already sent invitations to the Zone 4.5 members and we are looking forward to hosting up 100 players,” Morienyane said.

“The event will be partly sponsored by FIDE through ACC but we are also hoping to secure more sponsor. The government is also expected to weigh in.”

The local organising committee is already hard at work to ensure the success of the event.

“This is a huge opportunity for our players. It is going to give them a chance to play at a higher international level. It will also put Lesotho chess in the limelight and this will result in our players getting exposure and confidence.”

Each federation will be allowed to register a maximum of five players for each category but the host country can register up to seven players and another reserve player. The ACC president also has a right to nominate other additional players.

Other Zone 4.5 member countries are Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In preparation for the tournament, Lesotho has already started hosting qualifying events. The first qualifying event for local players through the King’s Birthday Open Chess Tournament held last week.

The association is also expecting to host three more qualifying events namely the Spring Open tournament this month end, the Basotho Year Opener Tournament and a Round Robin tournament. The last two tournaments will be held next month.

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