Botswana Chess Federation opened the 2015 Chess Calendar of events over the weekend on 31 January 2015-1 February 2015 at Legae Academy in Phase 2-Gaborone with the year opener chess tournament supported by Airfficiency (Pty) Ltd.
The tournament brought together 117 chess players of different strengths and titles from Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Fide Master (FM) Thato Olebile from Botswana ensured that the open section gold medal and trophy remained home when he registered a draw with the defending champion, Musatwe Simutowe of Zambia. Olebile registered another draw in the early rounds of the tournament, when he played Candidate Master (CM) Thabo Gumpo of Botswana. He then further went on to win crucial games of the tournament when he played against Candidate Master Barileng Gaealafshwe and Thuso Mosutlha in the middle of the tournament thus increasing his tie break points. FM Thato Olebile, CM Thabo Gumpo and International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse all finished the tournament with a total score of 6/7 points but were then separated by tie breaks leaving Olebile on the 1st spot while CM Gumpo obtained 2nd place and IM Oatlhotse obtained 3rd place. The 3 players shared the cash prize with each winning P1250.
The defending champion, Musatwe Simutowe of Zambia finished on the 5th spot.
The ladies section championship title went to 11 year old Woman Candidate Master Modi Sonia of South Africa.Sonia finished the tournament on a tied score of 5.5/7 points with Botswana’s only Woman Grand Master (WGM) Tuduetso Sabure and Woman International Master Tshepiso Lopang. The three players were then separated by tie breaks which gave Sonia an upper hand, placing her in the 1st spot and Sabure on 2nd. 3rd place went to Woman International Master (WIM) Tshepiso Lopang. The players shared a cash prize of P2049. Sonia caused some upsets in the tournament when she won against long time Woman International Master Boikhutso Modongo and former national team player Boitshepo Rebatenne.
The defending champion WIM Kgalalelo Botlhole did not take part in the tournament.
In the youth Section Naledi Marape was crowned the best girl performer from the primary schools section while Gideon Masaiti was crowned the best boy performer. Besa Masaiti won the girls section Junior Secondary Schools Championship title. The Junior Schools boys section championship title was won by Keatlaretse Keorapetse. Abhiram Sasitharam was crowned the best performer in the Senior Schools category.
Tournament was played in a 7 round swiss individual pairing format with 65 minutes time allocation per player without increment.
Botswana Chess Federation rated the event with the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in order to afford participants an opportunity to gain FIDE Ratings.
The tournament was supported with P15 000 by one of Botswana’s leading SMMEs, Airfficiency (Pty) Ltd, a company that trades in laboratory and medical equipment.