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Chess action returns

Leemisa Thuseho

THE Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) will resume physical activities when it hosts the 2021 Winter Open Chess Tournament on 12 and 13 June 2021.

The tournament will mark the return of over the board chess events in Lesotho since they were suspended last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last time a physical chess tournament was held in the country was in February last year during the Lesotho Open Chess Tournament.

However, while it was not easy to host physical events, the players were still able to compete online both in local and international competitions.

CFL president Tšeliso Motloheloa said the preparations for the tournament were at an advanced stage although the venue is yet to be confirmed.

“We are happy that chess is returning after a long time,” Motloheloa said.

“We are yet to confirm the venue but I think by Wednesday next week everything will be confirmed. For now, all we can say is that the games will be in Maseru.

“The venue confirmation is being delayed because the owners of the facilities that we normally use want us to fumigate after use. We however, do not have the fumigating equipment. If we fail to agree, then we may have to use Setsoto Stadium.”

According to Motloheloa, in past years, the event used to attract players from South Africa but due to Covid-1, chances are slim that they will have visiting players.

So far, 50 local players have registered for the tournament and Motloheloa said this was an indication that players were happy to see physical games returning.

He said they would ensure that players and officials adhere to Covid-19 protocols.

“We have trained Covid-19 compliance officers, we have adequate PPE and we will ensure that the number of people who gather does not exceed 50 percent capacity of the venue,” Motloheloa said.

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