Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will this Saturday host a dinner and awards ceremony at the Gaborone International Convention (GICC) to mark a milestone 30 years of their existence. The dinner themed ‘30 Years of Making Smart Moves’ will celebrate the strides and stable leadership the sporting code has enjoyed over the years. Some of these strides include the BCF hosting the current chess world champion Viswanathan Anand of India for his first official trip to Africa.
The high profile visit was followed by the historic league sponsorship by Mahindra Botswana. BCF President Tshepo Sitale says today they are proud to have highly rated players and various titled players, among them Woman International Master Boikhutso Mudongo, Fide Master Tshepiso Lopang and Woman Grand Master Tuduetso Sabure. Other prominent names in the sport include Ignatius Njobvu, Fide Master Phemelo Kheto and Providence Oatlhotse. Briefly dwelling on the BCF, history, Sitale said the 1980’s saw chess steadily growing with the help of the Peace Corps who brought the games to most schools and this is how the sports spread at grass roots level and played in most secondary schools. He said the BCF was formed in 1982.
The sport saw a constant change in leadership through the 1990s and 2000s until the current president Sitale took over from 2009. The BCF grand plan at the moment is to develop their talent with the aim of having a player of International Master by 2016. Sitale said the weekend event will be graced by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi as the guest speaker and the Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcas Makgatho-Malesu amongst others. “The event will culminate with an awards ceremony that will honor players, officials, sponsors and the media,” he said, adding that Mophato Dance Theatre, Eugene Jackson and DJ Ricky Lamar will entertain the guests.