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Local chess stars to represent Africa at world cadets

Tshepo Kehimile
PRODIGY: Naledi Marape

Three young local chess players will face some of the best brains in the world when they fight in the corner of Team Africa in the 2020 Online World Cadets and Youth Chess Championships to be held on 19th-23rd December.

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Publicity Secretary Mokwaledi Tingwane is told Voice Sport that Naledi Marape, 14, Refilwe Gabatshwarwe, 15, and Desire Machinya,18, will be an invaluable addition to Team Africa.

The World Cadets and Youth Chess Championships comprise five different age groups (U10, U12, U14, U16, and U18).

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Team Africa will face six other continents to determine the ultimate 2020 Champion.

Tingwane told Voice Sport in an interview this week that he believes the local players are going to do well even though they go to the tournament as underdogs.

“I’m confident that our players are going to give their A-game at the tournament as the preparations are already underway,” he said.

“Africa is however coming to the tournament as underdogs because other continents have been performing really well. We’re still optimistic that our athletes will be up to the task, and improve their rating as we shift our focus to 2021,” Tingwane said.

He however said the three players are yet to get into camp as they are still sorting out some logistics.

He sais the players have competed in a few local tournaments already such as Botash Open and are expected to feature in other planned competitions.

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“Francistown School of Chess Academy will stage a tournament between the 15th and 17th of December and there’s also Debswana Youth Chess Championships under 20 on the way which I think would be of great help to them,” said Tingwane.

Gabatshwarwe boast of an impressive profile which includes being the 2020 Botswana National Commission Sports Awards Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year.

She’s also the 2020 Airfficiency Year Open Chess Gold medallist and 2020 Zone 4.5 Online Team Championship bronze medallist just mention a few.

Her other teammate is no slouch either. She’s the 2020 Debswana Developmental Botswana International Open gold medallist, and 2020 Zone 4.5 Online Team Championship bronze medal.

YOUNG TALENT: Desire Machinya

For his part, Machinya who played at the 2018 National Youth Team and African School Chess Championships held in South Africa said it was an honour to have qualified for this stage as a young player.

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“Qualifying to represent the nation at an international event is a massive honour for me, I did a few international events but this one is by far the biggest I’ve ever participated in, and I hope to perform really well and raise the nation’s flag really high,” he said.

“My coach is currently focusing on sharpening me mentally and tactically to prepare me for the international stage,” said an excited Machinya.

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