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40 contest in Spring Open chess tourney

Leemisa Thuseho

FORTY chess players are battling for honours in the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) 2021 Spring Open Championship at the Maqalika Scenery Guest House.

The championship started yesterday and is ending today.

The tournament is being played behind closed doors due to the current Covid-19 regulations which bar fans from sporting activities.

CFL deputy secretary general, Khiba Selatela, said the event will serve as one of the qualifiers for the Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship penned in for Lesotho in November this year.

“This will be a qualifying event for the upcoming Zone 4.5 championship which we are going to host,” Selatela said.

“We have organised several qualifying events for the Zone 4.5 event and players are using those events to collect points to boost their chances of qualifying for the zonal contest.”

The prizes for the Spring Open will be determined by the amount raised from the registration fees.

The ongoing chess tournament is the third to be staged by the federation since the return over the board chess events. Chess events had been limited to online platforms since March last year because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The first over the board event was in June during the Lesotho Open Winter tournament which was followed by another Zone 4.5 chess championship qualifying event — His Majesty King Letsie III’s 58th birthday tournament held a fortnight ago.

In Mid-August the federation will stage another event, the Basotho Year Opener Chess Championship.

Selatela said the final team for the zonal championships will be selected during a round robin tournament to be held at the end of August. Only players who have collected adequate points during the qualifying event will play in the round robin.

The Zone 4.5 chess championship will be held in Lesotho for the first time and the country is expecting players from Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, eSwatini and Zambia.

The event was initially scheduled for last November but it was postponed on the back of Covid-19 restrictions.

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