Mahommed, Tšephe dominate chess winter tourney

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Leemisa Thuseho

GEORGE Mahommed and Lebajoa Tšephe displayed outstanding performances to dominate the 2022 Lesotho Winter Open Chess tournament over the weekend.

The tournament was held at the Lesotho Agricultural College (LAC) in Maseru on Saturday and Sunday. Twenty-eight players participated in the tournament.

Mahommed and Tšephe collected five points each from six rounds. However, the direct encounter tie breaker method favoured Mahommed for the first position. This after beating Tšephe 1-0 when they clashed in the third round.

Therefore, Tšephe settled for second.

Last year’s winner, Sechaba Khalema (5.5 points) did not enroll for this year’s event to defend his title.

Tšephe, who is also a former national champion, went into the weekend competition highly motivated after performing well during the Lesotho Open Olympiad Qualifiers recently. The performance helped him qualify for the Olympiad for the first time.

The Olympiad is scheduled for Chennai in India from 28 July to 10 August 2022.

Initially, the biennial chess world team event was set to be held in Moscow from 26 July to 8 August. However, Russia was in February this year stripped of the hosting rights after it invaded Ukraine.

The weekend tournament also saw Bokang Motsamai finishing third with 4.5 points leaving the fourth spot for Mokhameleli Mohale, who also scored 4.5 points. Ntsielo Bonolo (4.5 points) came fifth.

Motsamai and Bonolo have also qualified for the Olympiad.

Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) secretary general, Tlhoriso Morienyane, said despite the poor attendance, they were happy that most of the participants were below 18 years of age. Their young ages were proof of the association’s commitment to developing the sport.

“The tournament was good, but we are happy that all the winners are below 18 years.

“This is a good sign because it shows that we are investing more in the future,” Morienyane said.

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