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GOVT’S E20 000 FOR CHESS ‘GOLDEN LADIES’

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MBABANE – It’s a historic achievement for Eswatini and worth celebrating.

The Eswatini Government, through the Ministry of Sport Culture and Youth Affairs, welcomed the 44th Chess Olympiad gold medalist ladies team with a E20 000 incentive for their exceptional performance. The event was held in India, Chennei and was organised by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE). The presentation event was held at the sports ministry’s offices in Mbabane. The four-member ladies chess team rewrote history and set the bar as they became the only African team to win a gold medal in Category E. The team comprised of Captain Nosimilo Mkhonto, Nomcebo Sibisi, Nosipho Dlamini and Nolwazi Nkwanyane. The team competed against over 50 countries which were represented in this grandest international chess competition.

exceptional

Through their exceptional performance, two of the players earned new titles. Nolwazi Nkwanyane and Nomcebo Sibisi are now women candidate masters (WCM). The CM title is awarded to players who achieve an established classical FIDE rating of 2 200. However, the title is also given to players who perform well at continental or national events. Nkwanyane and Sibisi now form part of the about 1 700 active candidate masters, which is a drop in the ocean among the millions of chess players worldwide. Introduced in 2002 with WCM, the usual way for a player to qualify for the candidate master title is by achieving an elo rating of 2 200 or more. For players rated over 2 000 but under 2 200, there are many other ways of gaining the title, which include scoring 50 per cent over seven or more games at an Olympiad.

Team Captain, Nosimilo Mkhonto commended her team for their determination, team work and moral support despite the intensity of the competition. She also thanked the Eswatini Government, the Sports and Recreation Council and individuals who supported them. “It’s still hard to believe that we were crowned champions. We are grateful for the support we got from everyone back at home. It was a very tough competition and I want to give credit to the entire team for their fighting spirit and motivation. At the height of the competition, we thought we would only get a bronze medal but we pressed on especially in the last match against Honduras whom we beat and assumed the top spot,” Mkhonto said. The Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Harris ‘Madze’ Bulunga congratulated the team and urged them to continue working hard and investing in their sporting growth, as well as empower the youth in their various communities to play chess.

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