Chess to host six FIDE tourneys
Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will this year open a new chapter, hosting six historic FIDE rated tournaments this year.
The Federation which has been lobbying to host the events for some time now is also delighted by the fact that the chess league will also return this year after eight (8) years. The league will be powered by Debswana and more details are still being finalized before it takes off.
Metropolitan National championships, Gaborone International Open and the Maun International Open are some of the tournaments that will be FIDE rated. The Botswana International Open and Blitz Champions will also complement the roller-coaster that would see locally hosted events used to grade players.
“We are very happy with this because it will improve the strength of our players. More rated tournaments equals more rated players and higher ratings,” BCF publicity secretary Kutlwano Tatolo said. “This is a new development where we tried by all means that all new tournaments we introduce should come in as rated tournaments,” she added. BCF has assured that more of the events will also be FIDE rated.
Air Efficiency champs sets the tone
All roads last weekend led to Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School for the season opener. The tournament aroused interest across the chess paradise with teams that have been defunct since the disappearance of the league using eyeing the championship to assess and recruit players as they gear up for the season.
The tournament attracted interests from other southern African countries and was played in three categories; FIDE rated open section which was won by Candidate Master Barileng Gaealafshwe of Jwaneng Chess club, FIDE rated ladies section by Women International Master Onkemetse Francis of Black Bishops while FIDE rated youth section was taken by a 14 year old Thapelo Tsebetsame. Winners of the tournament will pocket P3000, P1500 and P450 respectively.
NEW CHESS ACADEMY IS BORN
The return of the league has sparked interest across with formation of a new chess academy- Limitless Minds Chess Academy. The academy is set to contribute positively to the society by using chess as a tool for empowerment and social inclusion. The bigger aim according to the founder of the academy is “to help in making a positive impact in the society and in producing exceptional individuals beyond the chess board. The academy compliments the efforts of the Botswana Chess Federation by developing and advancing the game of chess in communities of special needs.”
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”
BFA to pay Taylor P330 000
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