By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – Schools in Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality took part in a chess tournament that was aimed at selecting 10 boys and girls who will represent the municipality at district level on October 02, 2021.
The male winners who will represent the municipality are: Hlomuka Mabutho, Zim Amohelang, Tobalete Tshepang, Faro Seeiso, Zwane Simphiwe, Mabaso Tshitso, Mbele Thato, Mosia Tumelo, Lefu Mpho, and Skhosana Qenehelo . Female winners are: Lephuthing Kutlwano, Khanyisile Lukhele, Khotle Keletso, Kheswa Dintle, Mathetane Nthabiseng, Mokoena Kananelo, Miya Oratilwe, Mofokeng Onalerona, Mabela Nthabiseng ,and Maduna Nyakallo.
One of the learners who took part in the competition that was held at Tsebo Secondary School last Friday, Mamadule Moletse (12) of Makwane Primary says her mathematics grades have improved markedly since she took up the sport.
“I play chess to acquire knowledge, it has helped enhance my concentration. My performance in maths has also improved.”
Moletse was full of praise for her late uncle who encouraged her to play chess.
“My late uncle encouraged me to join the chess club and told me it has many benefits. I will never quit playing it.”
Another learner Boitumelo Tsolo (13), a grade 7 pupil of Makgetheng Primary, said she only plays chess because there’s no other sport at her school.
“I joined chess as a hobby and because there is no other sport in our school. But I have since discovered visible improvement in my marks.”
A specialist in the Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation department of Thabo Mofutsanyana district, Mpho Ramosoeu said the chess tournament was part of preparations for the 2021 national summer games which will be held in Gauteng in December.
“The playerswere picked from schools in the Maluti-a-Phofung towns of Kestell, Harrismith and Phuthaditjhaba. We call it Maluti-a-Phofung individual chess tournament. From this tournament we will take 20 winners, 10 girls and 10 boys who will be playing at district level where they will be representing Thabo Mofutsanyana. From there the same 20 winners will be competing at provincial level on October 02.
Ramosoeu said the10 boys and 10 girls who have won will be representing Free State on December 16 in Gauteng.
Chess arbiter Sello said he picked up several challenges during the games, but they were lenient, due to the fact that Covid-19 could have played a role in this regard.
“Most of the teachers here are also new. Leaners too are new and did not have enough time to practice due to Covid-19 lockdowns. We are warning teachers to refrain from assisting learners. But before Covid-19, this would not have been a case, they would have been disqualified.”