MASERU – Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has announced its squad for the upcoming International Chess Federation (FIDE) Online Chess Olympiad to be held from July 22 to August 30. According to CFL’s Public Relations Officer, Selatela Khiba, the country will be represented by 12 players in total.
Khiba indicated that the squad consists of six first choice players and six substitutes. First choice players are CM Tokelo Klaas, Khanyapa Theko, WCM Maboloka Leboela, ’Malehloa Likhomo, Lebajoa Tšephe and Bonolo Ntsielo. The substitutes, Selatela indicated, are CM Joang Molapo, Sechaba Khalema, Naleli McPherson, WFM Lieketseng Ngatane, Letlotlo Lebakae and ’Malillo Phera. CFL Secretary General, Moshe Mokone, said this is going to be the first time the Chess Olympiad is played Online in the history of the sport. He said this was due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
“In the first place, this year’s Chess Olympiad was set to take place in Russia but because of the COVID-19 the International Chess Federation decided that the competition be held online,” said Mokone in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week. “So this is going to be the first time Chess Olympiad is played Online.” Mokone, however, said this is not going to be the first that an international chess competition is played Online. But he said players used to be reluctant to participate in such online competitions before, as most of them prefer to play it in a contact way.
“This this time around there is no chance of choosing between online and contact chess because of the COVID-19,” Mokone said. The last Chess Olympiad was held in Georgia in 2018, as the competition is held biennially. Mokone said Lesotho players’ performance at the competition in 2018 was not too bad as some of them came home with chess titles from Georgia. Team Lesotho is led for this year’s Chess Olympiad by Mona Mphetole as the captain.