In what ended as one of the most thrilling chess championships in the history of Botswana Chess, Fide Master (FM) Ignatious Njobvu and Women International Master(WIM) Boikhutso Mudongo were crowned champions for the open and ladies sections respectively.
The final lap of the tournament took place over the holidays under the watchful eye on International arbiter Kelapile Kelatlhilwe. Njobvu started the tournament cautiously after he settled for a draw on round 2 with the defending champion International Master Providence Oatlhotse. Oatlhotse was tipped to defend the title as the highest rated player in the country
Njobvu's winning streak continued as he went on to defeat Barileng Gaealafshwe and Elias Olositswe among other. His quest for championship appeared all in vain after he lost to Fide Master Phemelo Khetho on round 7.Khetho played his favourite Kings Indian Attack that saw Njobvu's position crumble to pieces.
The race went down to the wire when there was no clear winner towards the end of the tournament. On the last round Thato Olebile and FM Phemelo Khetho stood equally the same chances as Njobvu. Njobvu went on to defeat Kenneth Boikhutswane to be crowned the champion after Khetho and Olebile drew their last game. Olebile and Khetho got silver and bronze respectively.
Thabo Gumpo finished the tournament impressively on position 4.Gumpo was hailed for his brilliances on the board as he executed calculated piece sacrifices and ended most of his game like a chess grandmaster. His Rook Sacrifice (Rd7!!!) on round one against Khetho left many chess analysts totally enthralled.
The ladies section saw WIM Boikhutso Modongo defend the title and increasing her tally for the championship to five times. The championship had almost evaded Modongo until she salvaged a point from Women Fide Master Kgalalelo Botlhole. Botlhole finished the tournament on position two to the disappointment of his training coach Abdul Kamara.
The duo of Modongo and Njobvu will represent the country at the Africa Individual Championships in Tunisia next month.
By Tshenolo Maruatona.