11 June 2018

Rwanda: Youngsters Impress At 2018 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament

Rwandan youngsters made an impression at the 2018 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament (GMCT) which concluded Sunday night in Kigali even though members of the Ugandan delegation, as expected, dominated the medals podium.

Rwandan youngsters made an impression at the 2018 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament (GMCT) which concluded Sunday night in Kigali even though members of the Ugandan delegation, as expected, dominated the medals podium.

The tournament comprised a rated international section - with 33 participants - which was won by Uganda's Allan Mathias Ssonko but there was a special shine for Rwanda in the unrated open section (57 players) also won by a Ugandan, Ivan Jalagatha Mugisha.

In the open section, 12-year old Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, surprised many by emerging third - and best junior - after losing only one game in the six-round contest.

With four wins each, Happiness Mutete, a primary six pupil of Ecole Primaire Kinunga, in Gikondo, and Joselyne Uwase, 15, a senior two student of GS Kimisange, got awarded best ladies though Mutete took home a trophy due to her tie-break advantage. Overall, Mutete was 11th and Uwase 17th.

Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) president Kevin Ganza said he was happy to see more local schools participating since, in last year's GMCT, only students from Riviera High School participated.

This time, there were students from Kagarama Secondary School, Lycée Notre Dame de Citeaux (LNDC), SOS Hermann Gmeiner Technical High School, GS Kimisange and Riviera High School.

Ganza said: "The amazing performance by our youngsters was impressive; Mutete Happiness, Cyubahiro Ben Patrick and Uwase Joselyne. There was also a very promising young Ugandan girl who's spirit and passion for chess and school is very commendable."

Rongin Munyurangabo, Uwase's 17-year old brother was seventh.

All the more than 20 Rwandan teens - all students - who participated in the tournament could only afford to register for the open section which started Saturday, unlike the international section that begun Friday.

Uganda's 10-year old Mary Kevin Ndagire, the only youngster in the international section, took home two trophies.

Emmanuel Mwaka, president of Uganda's chess federation, said chess is supposed to be used "to build friendship" and there is no better time than at the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. And he too acknowledges that youngsters are a force to reckon with.

Mwaka said: "The youngsters are clear testimony to the future of regional chess. The ladies' continued participation continues to bridge the equality gap between men and women."

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