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Tough outing for chess star


‘Masetleka Matjekesa

Lesotho’s top chess player, Naleli McPherson could only manage position four at the recent Mozambique Open Chess Tournament, which ran from June 22 to 24 this year.

Following her trip, McPherson told Newsday Sports that she obtained position four, tied with two others on points.

“After a fight against some higher-rated ladies, I got tied in the fourth position,” she said.

“It was not a bad tournament because I lost two games against two of Mozambique’s titled ladies.”

Going forward she intends to improve on her psyche when playing against ranked players.

She further said she will soon be attending Bojanala Open in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Considered among one of the top active chess players in the country, she has previously represented Lesotho in two chess Olympiads, among other international tournaments.

McPherson has also regularly played in South African tournaments.

She is currently building her individual chess profile, as it is difficult working with sports organisations, which are struggling with funding.

“They are struggling to get such sponsors; hence they have not been any tournaments hosted in recent times. I was a captain of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) chess club, but I have completed my studies there.”

She said it is tough playing chess in Lesotho because other countries have financial support for the sport.

“In other countries, they are getting support from their sports department from corporate or individual sponsors. But it is hard for us in Lesotho to get such support.

“But we do not give up, we just keep on going. That is why I can say even if we have no tournaments right now, we keep on playing so that we can keep the love and passion of chess alive.” 

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