FIDE Director for Chess Development GM Nigel Short visited over half of the African countries to promote the game during his career. From November 21-24, 2023, the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) was delighted to welcome back the 1993 World Championship challenger to the kingdom of Lesotho for the third and final stop on his recent tour over Africa. He had previously visited Lesotho in 2017.
GM Nigel Short arrived in Lesotho on the morning of November 21 and was welcomed by the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) President and Vice President of Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission, Tšeliso Motloheloa. Right away, he met with the CFL Executive members to discuss and finalize the schedule for the next two days.
Lesotho Correctional Services
Following a meeting with the CFL Executive Committee, the FIDE Director for Chess Development met with the officials of Lesotho Correctional Services. The meeting was attended by the President and Secretary General of the Lesotho Chess Federation, the Deputy Commissioners of the LCS, Mr Phomane, Ms Maseeiso and Advocate Mopa.
Nigel Short with LCS Officials and CFL President
The main topic of the discussion was Lesotho's possible joining the Chess for Freedom programme, the initiative by FIDE, which aims to give inmates hope for the future beyond prisons. The LCS was very impressed with the Chess for Freedom and showed a great interest in participating in the upcoming Chess for Freedom competition. It suggested that both LSC and CFL should start making necessary preparations for the 2024 tournament and consider holding the inter-prison tournament or having the inmates participate in the local tournaments.
Meeting Lesotho Sports Leadership LNOC and LSRC
Nigel Short, together with CFL President Tšeliso Motloheloa and Secretary General Tlhoriso Morienyane, proceeded to meet with the leadership of both the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) and Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) at LNOC offices. Present at the meeting were Morake Raleaka, CEO of LNOC; Lebohang Khomari, LNOC member- Chess Attaché; Litšitso Motšeremeli, LSRC President; and Thabo Tsiki, LSRC CEO. The discussion revolved around the future of chess in Lesotho and its contribution to the sports fraternity.
Nigel Short with the Leadership of CFL, LNOC and LSRC
The CEO of LNOC appreciated and congratulated Lesotho chess for being part of the school curriculum since 2015. The options on how chess can be improved were also discussed, with the main issues being higher-level coaching for the local players and increasing the number of tournaments in the country to attract stronger players from neighbouring countries like South Africa, Zambia, and Angola.
Trip to Maletsunyane Falls, meet-and-greet with local players.
On November 22, the local chess federation gave Nigel a brief tour of the country to show him not only the tourist attractions but also other parts of Lesotho that are not easy to reach.
Visiting Maletsunyane Falls in Semonkong, Maseru
Following his trip to the highest single-drop waterfall in Africa, some local players had a chance to meet and greet Nigel. Of course, it would be incomplete without some blitz games. Several players and the Executive Committee members played blitz with GM Nigel Short and had an opportunity to network with potential sponsors.
During the meet, greet and blitz at Avani Maseru. Seen with some of the Executive Members
Coaching clinic and simul
On the last day, GM Short offered training to about 13 local coaches and players at the Lesotho National Olympic Committee. He gave the players and coaches some pointers on the approaches to better chess development and improvement and shared his experiences of the 1993 World Championship Match.
Offering training to local coaches and players and LNOC
Nigel Short then went on to the British High Commissioner to Lesotho, where he had 22 players eagerly waiting to battle with him in a simul. The British High Commissioner himself also faced the renowned GM.
Giving simul to 22 players including the British High Commissioner to Lesotho, His Excellency Harry McDonald
After completing his mission to Lesotho, FIDE Director for Chess Development, Nigel Short had a dinner meeting with the CFL executive and His Excellency Harry McDonald to discuss the future of Lesotho's chess.
Having a diner meeting with CFl Executive Committee and His Excellency Harry McDonald, the British High Commissioner to Lesotho
The visit by Nigel Short was very important to the Chess Federation of Lesotho and local chess. He has not only inspired the local players and administrators; all stakeholders he met showed interest and appreciated the efforts by FIDE in Lesotho through his visit. We believe that going forward, we will see positive change among players and potential sponsors.
Written by Tlhoriso T.J. Morienyane,
Secretary General Chess Federation of Lesotho