Brilliant minds are expected to be at work this Friday when the 2017 Metropolitan National Chess Championships finals begin at President Hotel in Gaborone. The competition is expected to run until the May Day holiday.
Defending champions of the 2016 event, Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis and Barileng Gaealafshwe will be looking to retain their titles, while big guns in the game, such as International Master (IM) Oatlhotse Providence and Boikhutso Mudongo are expected to cause upsets.
Providence poses a much bigger threat given his current form. In an earlier interview, he said that the aim is to return to his winning ways this year. He won the Airfficiency Year Opener tournament and scooped top spot in both the first and second stages of the Metropolitan National Chess Championships.
Nevertheless, the likes of WIM Botlhole Kgalelo, WIM Lopang Tshepiso, Candidate Master (CM) Pitlagano Tebogo and Thuso Mosutha are players not to be discounted either. Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) mouthpiece Keenese Katisenge said that they expect the tournament to give players exposure and more match practice ahead of the fierce Africa Individual Championships slated for Morocco.
The Metropolitan championships have been running for 11 years. The 2017 tournament has been sponsored to a tune of P120 000 by Metropolitan Botswana. The winner of the open section will walk away with a massive P10 000 while the ladies section first prize will be P8 000. Participants will also use the tournament to prepare for the upcoming 2017 African Zone 4.3 Chess Championships.