Uphill battle for chess players in Chennai

…despite missing first three rounds because of late arrival    

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – Despite their late arrival for the ongoing Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, Lesotho chess players are so far giving it their best shot at the tournament. The Chennai Chess Olympiad kicked off on July 28 and will end on August 10. Lesotho chess team left for the competition on July 29, a day after it got underway.

According to the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) Secretary General, Tlhoriso Morienyane, the team’s late arrival for the competition was because they secured funds for the trip late, among other factors. The late arrival saw the chess team missing three first rounds of the competition. This was also after the team coaches, Phera Moseli and Mphetole Mona failed to travel with the team due to financial constraints.

“I won’t say it was all because of financial problems even though that was also a contributing fact for the team’s late arrival for the tournament,” said Morienyane in an interview with Public Eye yesterday. “Yes, we got money late and it was also not easy on our side to get tickets and VISAs because we had to apply for the VISAs after we got flight tickets, while delaying to get flights tickets resulted in us getting VISAs late.”

But after all, Lesotho players are so far trying hard in Chennai. Lesotho chess team beat Mauritius 2.5-1.5 and Nepal 3-1 in the open and ladies section, respectively, both in round 6. This was after Lesotho drew 2-2 against Palestine in the open section, 2-2 against Bhutan in the ladies’ section, and beat Laos 4-0 in the open section and 4-0 against Burundi in the ladies’ section, all in Round 5.

“We have played three rounds so far and overall we won all of them in the ladies’ section, while we won two games and lost one in the men’s category,” Morienyane said. Morienyane said yesterday was a rest day in Chennai and so they hoped the players would take advantage of that for them to come back stronger for the next games. He said the team had five games remaining.

Lesotho’s next opponents at the Chennai Chess Olympiad are Afghanistan and Monaco in the open and ladies’ sections, respectively. Lesotho chess team is made up of 10 players: five men and five ladies. Men players comprise Tokelo Klaas, Sechaba Khalema, Tšepe Lebajoa, Bahlakoana Ntsonayana and Bokang Motsamai, while the female players consist of ’Maboloko Leboela, ’Malehloa Likhomo, Bonolo Ntsielo, Nteboheleng Thetsane and Reitumetse Taioe.

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