She has taken the chess game by storm
Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Refilwe Gabatshwarwe has taken the playing boards by storm this year.
Despite being just 14 years, the Moshupa native have already achieved a lot and so there is more on her plate. This year she shocked the chess playing locals by winning the Metropolitan Ladies National championships upstaging big names like WIMs Kgalalelo Botlhole and Boikhutso Modongo. That was the beginning of new era for the young Gabatshwarwe who is now on a mission to win anything on offer.
WCM Gabatshwarwe started playing chess at the age of 10 while doing standard four at Bokaa Primary School under the tutelage of Moroka Motlogelwa of Moroka Chess Academy.
Though she rose to fame this year due to her exploits Gabatshwarwe proved her prowess from her early days. So far the Mmanaana Junior School student has a record of 20 gold, 10 silver and seven bronze medals from her short playing career. However most of her achievements are mostly from development tournaments.
However, this year was her best. Gabatshwarwe rose to the occasion early this by winning the Air Efficiency Year Opening tournament in January. From there, she never looked back. Nobody stood on her way. She went on to win the national championships – a feat which booked her an automatic spot in the national team; making her the youngest team member ever at age 14 and beating a record set by Masaiti last year when she made it to the Olympiad team.
As part of Team Botswana she represented the country at the Africa Games in Morocco. Though she did not win any medal she played well and gained good points against some of highly rated players throughout the competition. Just recently she won a bronze medal at the Africa Junior Chess Championships. Following that achievement she has come close to attaining her second title – the Woman Fide Master title.
Currently rated 1615, Gabatshwarwe is just few notches away from the title itself as she has to score 1900 ratings to realise the dream. Just last week she won gold at the Zone 4.5 Championships which means she has added some few points to her current one.
She will be heading to the Africa Youth Chess Championships and to the Under 20 World Chess Olympiad between now and next year.
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