It’s a checkmate

Kitso Ramono
BW Youth Chess Team

Team BW scoops position three in Egypt

Botswana’s sporting codes have had an impressive season, with athletes reaching international milestones, breaking records as well as setting new ones in athletics, karate, and darts.

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Botswana Chess Association (BCA), determined not to be left behind dispatched a squad of 12 young athletes, seven girls and five boys, to the Africa Youth Chess Championship in Cairo-Egypt a week ago.

Only two ladies, Natalie Banda, 16, and Nalamalpu Reddy, 12, were able to bring home medals, helping Botswana finish third out of 13 countries and over 400 athletes.

It's a checkmate
U16 CHAMPION: Natalie Banda

Banda, a Woman Candidate Master (WCM), earned a gold medal in the under 16 category with 8.5 points out of nine, earning automatic qualification to the World Youth Chess Championships and World Cadet Championships, which will be held later this year.

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She also received the respected titles of Woman Fide Master (WIM) and Woman International Master (WIM), which she received conditionally owing to her failure to meet the international federation’s necessary requirements.

Reddy won a silver medal after scoring eight points out of nine and losing only one game against the host. She was also awarded a conditional Woman Candidate Master (WCM) title and qualified for the World Cadet Championships.

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It's a checkmate

Speaking to Voice Sport, BCA Secretary General, Mokwaledi Tingwane, said they were pleased with the kids’ overall performance.

“We were aiming for two medals and we got them; as an association we are very proud of the outcome because it shows that there is growth in our development teams,” she said.

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“Our teams had no prior international exposure, but they still brought positive results,” Tingwane told Voice Sport.

The SG lamented that lack of funds has been a serious stumbling block in their efforts to develop players, and send them to compete with the best across the world.

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“Even for national team events, we can only send a limited number of players, whenever we are invited,” she said.

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