By: Sekonyela Qaitsane

Maseru – Over 100 youth take part in an annual National Youth Chess Championship tournament this past weekend, marking a massive growth for the sport in the country.

This is according to the Chess federation of Lesotho’s Secretary General (SG) Tlhoriso Morienyane. Speaking to Informative Newspaper, Morienyane states this as the highest number of young participants in the competition along the years.

“This massive turn out is an implication that the sport is growing in the country and the future is bright.

Also, the fact that parents were also available to support their children is a rather unique and massive boost for the growth of this sport. It normally happens with white people that parents come along with their children to watch and support them when they play. So we are very excited that we see this happening here at it home,” he says.

The two day tournament takes place at Lancers Inn on May18th and 19th, comprises of children from the ages of 8 to 18, with children competing individually in their age groups respectively.

The winners from this tournament took home trophies, medals and reading materials that will help them in their academic development.

Morienyane goes on to highlight that the winners from this youth championship will participate in the upcoming African Youth Chess Championships 2024 scheduled to take place in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa from the 5th to 23rd June.

The only worrying factor, Morienyane says is the fact that there were few girls participating in this tournament, with the head count below 20. He however refers to this as work in progress, saying that the number of girl players will hopefully get better with time.

Another positive aspect is that chess has numerous venues, this includes schools that have Chess as a sport. He says their players also compete at higher levels now, compared to years back.

Next up, he says is an annual winter challenge competition that will take place on the second day of June as well as the one that will take place in celebration of King’s Birthday, as they normally do.

These tournaments he says will be for adults where medals and cash prizes will be at stake.