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MBABANE – Following the forfeiture of Commonwealth Chess Championships by South Africa (SA) to India, Eswatini Chess Federation has lamented the change.

It had all along been SA set to host the games next month but the latest development has seen them move to India. The dates have also been shifted and the games will now likely play in October. The change means high flying costs for countries when it was cheaper driving to SA for Eswatini and other neighbouring States. This came about due to a crisis facing Chess South Africa (CSA).

According to Times Live, CSA was last month suspended by the South African Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee (SAS­COC). SASCOC did not endorse the event in SA which Gauteng was given the hosting rights in 2019, thus CSA could not host it on its own without the backing of government. The postponement was announced a week ago. The tournament was due next month is   now likely to be played in October in India. ECF President Roy Msibi said it would be costly for to travel to India. “It is real a stab on the back and we are disappointed. The travelling cost to SA would be affordable and going to India will now limit the squad due to its costs. Air tickets to India costs around E15 000 to E18 000 depending on when you have purchased it,” Msibi said. The President said they were not getting enough subventions from government through the Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC), which is why for them the change was negative.  

This year ESRC got a lion’s share of the increased sports budget allocation and the bulk of the money was said to be for such trips for national teams. “The range of age groups is wide open for this tournament. We saw this as an opportunity to parade our junior players as the Commonwealth games put emphasis on 20-year and below players. Now we will have to compromise again and send senior players as the cost of our grassroots development,” the President added. Last year the senior ladies brought gold from the 44th India Olympiad Chess Championships. SA they will now negotiate to host the championships next after definitely putting their house in order.