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Onkemetse, Phemelo are Metropolitan champs

In what is arguably the greatest chess match ever played, Onkemetse Francis won with seven points and showed other players that she was one of the best chess player of all times in chess.

She was crowned this year’s champion at the just-ended Chess Metropolitan championships in a wonderful game, rich in chess content and was a joy for chess fans to follow all those hard battles on the chessboard among Botswana’s finest players.

She started leading in round eight with six points and she was tied on the first rank with sensational Women International Master (WIM) Boikhutso Modongo before she won against WIM Tshepiso Lopang in round eight.

Modongo, as the defending champion, failed to defend the title and this time around she proved she did not belong to the top drawer as usual.

Onkemetse had a lot of amazing moves which revealed some techniques used by other strong chess players such as former Grand Master (GM) Bobby Fischer (1943) who was also considered as one of the great players of all times.

She was by far the strongest female chess player in the history of the tournament, safe to say that she has already made her presence felt in the world of past few elite chess tournaments.

And given her relatively “amateur” approach to chess so far, it’s scary to think just how good Onkemetse could be if she decides to focus exclusively on the game for a while, as she has considered doing.

But one should never rule out the play of Woman International Master (WIM), Tshepiso Lopang, especially if that event is a chess one. She would employ the impenetrable “Berlin Wall” but Providence preferred not to bother dealing with it and chose instead to use other systems.

Tshepiso occupied position three after she accumulated 6.5 to walk away with a P3 000 cash prize. Another heavyweight battle was between Woman International Master (WIM), Kgalalelo Bothole, and Woman Fide Master (WFM), Thapelo Francis. Kgalalelo ended the tournament with an impressive score of 5.5 to occupy the fourth while Thapelo took position five with five points.

On the men category, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho kept a solid opening which gave him a slight advantage and then grind out a win with eight points ahead of Candidate Master (CM) Barileng Gaealafshwe who garnered 7.5 points to occupy the second spot.

In fact, Phemelo showed the same solid results at the start of the tournament on Good Friday (April 18), showing that he is more than capable of playing against the best players in the country.

On the other hand, CM Barileng was without doubt one of the most talented and aggressive players of the tournament when he came second winning to ever play on the chess board.

His intensity, brooding and staring was sufficient to intimidate the most experienced players that participated in the tournament. He maintained his grip at the top to finish with 7.5 points.

Third on the spot with seven points was Candidate Master Thato Olebile while defending champion during last year’s tournament Fide Master (FM) Ignatius Ndjovu occupied the fourth position with five points.

The event was sponsored with P108 750 by Metropolitan Botswana, which has a long standing relationship with the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF). The relationship started in 2006 with the annual sponsorship of the national chess championships by the insurance company.

This year’s event has seen a substantial increase in the prize list witch saw the champion walking away with P8 500 and the ladies champion going home P5 500 richer, trophies and medals. Second and third position on the men’s category went away with P6 500 and P4 500 cash prices respectively.

In the women’s section, position two got P 5 500 and position three P2 400 and some medals. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani

Location : GABORONE

Event : Chess tournament

Date : Apr 23 Wed,2014

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