Lesotho: Khalema Wins CFL Winter Open

LESOTHO'S second highest ranked chess player, Sechaba Khalema was last weekend crowned the overall winner of the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) Winter Open tournament.

The event was held Scenery Guest House on Saturday and Sunday.

Khalema was crowned champion after collecting 5.5 points in six rounds. The win saw Khalema defending his title won in 2019. Last year the tournament was not held because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Khalema took home M800 for winning the tournament this year.

Lesotho's top ranked player Tokelo Klaas settled for second with 4.5 points. Klaas was tied with Lesotho-based Zimbabwean Tatenda Pondo and Bahlakoana Ntšonyana, who finished third and fourth respectively. Each got M320.

Bonolo Ntsielo was named the tournament's best lady while Ntšonyana became the best junior. Each walked away with M200.

The tournament marked 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.

CFL secretary general Tlhoriso Morienyane told the Lesotho Times this week that they had 32 participants at the event.

"We had a good event with 32 participants and everyone was happy to be playing over the board chess again after over a year due to Covid-19," Morienyane said.

The tournament was extremely competitive and it was unfortunate that some locals failed to pitch up, he said. He said they are also planning another over the board event as soon as next month.

On his part, Khalema said playing over the board after a long time was tough.

"Playing over the board after such a long time wasn't easy, we found it difficult to concentrate for hours and some easily got tired," Khalema said.

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