Rwanda, ‘a 21st century emerging economy to watch out for’, according to Forbes, was made popular by the genocide event that happened a while back, which tore apart the people of Rwanda and left the country with not much to go on.
But being a sport that goes beyond borders, chess has found its way into the hearts and minds of the people of Rwanda, and how better to unite the country than through a uniting game such as chess!?
The Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament kicked off in 2014, when the Rwanda Chess Federation understood the fact that they needed to do something different and celebrate the lives that were lost to the genocide event, which they did with bringing the local players together, and then in 2017, they decided to take it international, so as to show the world that they have truly mended and bonded, and they are more than able to welcome international participants for their event.
With six (6) countries being represented at the 3rd edition of the rated Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament, which included Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda. The event saw Uganda’s FM Patrick Kawuma steal the show with a solid performance that showed the difference between the countries in participation….or is he just in form? He was definitely a show stopper at the event as he was only held to a draw once throughout the six (6) round encounter.
It was definitely not an easy ride for him, as Ugandan duo of CM Bob Bibasa and Ssonko Mathias Allan were hot on his tails for the duration of the tournament. 1815 ELO rated Nzabanita Joseph, was the best performing Rwandan at the event, finishing joint 4th with several other Ugandans with four (4) points of a possible six (6), to show them that the Rwandans are coming and are not far behind.
It was a joy for the hosts to also have the president of the Uganda Chess Federation also participating at the event and performing above average, considering the level of players taking part in the tournament. Shows that even though you join the politics of chess, you never really have to leave the game until you choose to stop playing.
Final Ranking after 6 Rounds
|3||3||Ssonko Mathias Allan||UGA||2155||5,0||0,5||22,0||17,50||2210||20||11,8|
|6||6||Kizza Faruk Fauza Karim||UGA||2031||4,0||0,0||20,5||11,50||1995||20||0,8|
|8||7||Wagodo Abdul Shakuru||UGA||1922||4,0||0,0||16,0||9,00||1724||20||-15,0|
|11||9||Michael Alier Noah||SSD||1844||3,5||0,0||18,5||8,75||1827||40||10,0|
|13||15||NAFTALY WACHIRA MWANGI||KEN||1753||3,0||0,0||22,0||9,00||1689||40||3,6|
|15||17||Cyubahiro Ben Patrick||RWA||1734||3,0||0,0||16,5||4,50||1545||40||13,6|
|18||19||Karenzi Gisa Kevin||RWA||1701||2,5||0,0||17,5||6,25||1550||40||-24,0|
|27||28||YALE OLIVO KARL||CGO||0||1,0||0,0||11,5||0,00||1031|
|28||25||Fotso Fono Kevin Larry||RWA||0||0,0||0,0||16,5||0,00||644|
There were two (2) categories at the event, and it was nice to see Arthur Bitarinsa (only Ugandan in the category) fight his way to finish clear second at the event, half a point behind the winner, Kagabo Mugema Eugene, who left no stones unturned as he dashed to the top in almost like manner with Patrick in the International section.
Eugene stood tall above all the others in his category, and only dropped half a point in his quest to becoming the champion of the category. Chess is a battle of the mind and it is only when you engage in it, that you truly understand the battle that goes into winning a chess game, talk less of a chess tournament, in any category.
Rank after Round 6
|1||1||Kagabo Mugema Eugene||RWA||1691||5,5||0,0||5||21,5|
|7||5||Iradukunda Ange Clement||RWA||0||3,0||0,0||3||22,5|
|12||13||Nshuti Kagarama Maxwell||RWA||0||2,0||0,0||1||15,5|
|16||6||Ishimwe Beza Aime||RWA||0||0,0||0,0||0||13,5|
With the upcoming Africa Individual Chess Championship in Tunisia and the All African Games in Morocco in July and August respectively, it would be interesting to see how the Rwandans would prepare and fare against other African Chess Professionals.