Phera, Sechaba win Maseru open championship

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Leemisa Thuseho 

‘MALILLO Phera and Khalema Sechaba were on Saturday and Sunday crowned the 2020 Maseru Open Chess Championships at Scenery Guest House in Maseru.

Phera claimed the title in the ladies’ category with five points while Sechaba dominated the open section with 5.5 points.

Phera pocketed M800 while Sechaba took home M1 500.

In the open section, the second and third places were occupied by Theko Khanyapa and Lekau Ramokotjo respectively.

They each had 4.5 points and took home M850 apiece.

In the ladies’ section, Reitumetse Taioe settled for the second place and walked away with M500. Likhomo ‘Malehloa and Lieketseng Ngatane each got M150 for coming third and fourth respectively having been tied on four points.

Sechaba told the Lesotho Times that the tournament was tough as all competitors were of the same level.

“The turnout was poor and the level of competitiveness was equal and that made it tough,” Sechaba said.

Although he was not too pleased with his performance, he conceded that he had not prepare properly because of school commitments.

“I had very little time to prepare when I was at school and I think I only won because I did not let that get to my mind.”

Sechaba said he was now eying the 2020 Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championship to be hosted by Lesotho later this year as well as the Chess Olympiad in Russia later this year.

“If I make it to the said games, I must perform well and prove that the country has improved.”

For his part, Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) public relations officer Khiba Selatela said they were happy despite the poor attendance.

“The tournament was a success even though we had a poor turnout,” Selatela mentioned

Selatela said that the players who performed well in the Maseru Open and in previous tournaments had increased their chances to be included in the national team that will contest in the Zone 4.3 Championships and the Olympiad Games.

He however, said they were yet to finalise the teams.

“This was our last tournament before the selection of the final team and the players’ chances of making it into the national team are high,” Selatela said.

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