Sechaba Khalema won the 2014 National Chess Championship held at Scenery Guesthouse in Maseru last weekend.
Khalema beat Phamotse Ntšonyane and Refuoe Ramakabane into second and third place and respectively pocketed M1500 and M1150.
By winning the tournament, Khalema automatically qualified for the Africa Individual Chess Championship scheduled for 12-23 December in Windhoek, Namibia.
On the other hand, Itumeleng Molupe came out tops in the female section of the annual event, and would also be taking part in the Namibia championship.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) secretary general, Moshe Mokone said: “We held a very successful tournament last weekend and the competition was very high, which was very pleasing.
“We also had two special prizes which we presented to the top two female contestants, the champion Itumeleng Molupe and her runner-up Leboela Maboloko. This was in the form of M800 and M500 respectively. And like I said, Molupe also qualified for the Africa Championship to be held in Namibia next month.”
Meanwhile, Mokone said it came as no surprise that Khalema won the main title.
“Khalema devotes much of his time to the sport, so it came as no surprise to see him winning the tournament. He is also the highest-ranked chess player in the country at the moment, so he was always going to be the player to beat in the competition.”
Commenting on Lesotho chess in general, Mokone said the sponsorship CFL was receiving from Kasparov Chess Foundation of Africa (KCFA) had been very helpful in spreading the game among different communities.
“The sport is really growing in the country and I think it will only be fair to thank KCFA, who have been sponsoring us especially on the development side of the sport. With their help, we have now managed to run a mini chess programme in various primary schools to introduce the sport at the grassroots,” said Mokone.