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Indian initiation
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FOCUSED: Sabure, Otisitswe & Rongwane (L-R)


Indian initiation

FIDE titles beckon for chess trio

Although the senior national teams were battered on the board at the World Chess Olympiad in India last month, individually players have a reason to smile after doing enough to gain FIDE titles.

Having left for Chennai as an untitled pauper, Gomolemo Rongwane returns home a prince.

The 33-year-old is now a FIDE Master (FM), attaining this ranking shortly after he was crowned a Candidate Master (CM).

It takes the number of Botswana’s FMs to six.

Reflecting on his newly won title at what was his first ever Olympiad, Rongwane admitted even he was surprised at how quickly he has risen up the ranks.

“I’m excited about my results because I feel I’m reaping the fruits of my investment in chess this year. I have worked so hard but I never thought the results would come so soon,” he told Voice Sport.

Rongwane is determined to build on this success as he works towards the ultimate title of Grandmaster.

“I aim to reach a rating which is over 2,400 in the next two years. I usually push myself by not competing with others but my targets only,” said the player who is currently rated 2,033 but was awarded the FM title based on his higher rating from last year.

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Rongwane’s teammate, Bojosi Sabure, has been provisionally earmarked for CM status after accumulating 4 points from a potential 8 in India. Bojosi, whose sister, Tuduetso Sabure, remains the only local player to earn a Grandmaster title, is currently rated 1,956 and needs to reach 2,000 – a rating he has had before – to get the CM title.

18-year-old Ruth Otisitswe, meanwhile, is on the cusp of Woman Candidate Master (WCM) titles after an impressive showing at the Olympiad saw her walk away with 5.5 out of a possible 9 points on offer.

The youngster is currently rated at 1,500 and will need to continue her good form if she is to reach the required 1,800 mark.

“This was my first Olympiad and the competition level was above what I’m used to. I had difficulties at the end games so I will work on that and try to increase my rating to attain my title. I didn’t gain much rating but the exposure of the tournament helped me realise I have potential to play well,” declared the confident teen, adding she was proud of her performance.

In the end, the men’s team finished the Olympiad in position 100 out of 188 teams, amassing 11 match points out of a possible 22. This was eerily similar to the women’s effort, with the team ending 101st out of 162 teams, with 10 match points out of the 22 on offer.

Grandmaster 2, 300
International Master 2, 200
FIDE Master 2, 100
Candidate Master 2, 000
Woman Grandmaster 2, 100
Woman International Master 2, 000
Woman FIDE Master 1, 900
Woman Candidate Master 1, 800

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