The Wanyama Invitational Juniors Chess Tournament – 2nd edition

Uganda National Chess Coach and Africa Games (chess) bronze medalist, FM Wanyama Harold once again showed his passion and love for the game by sponsoring yet another chess tournament. The event saw six (6) of Uganda’s upcoming juniors all under the age of 16 compete for over a million (1m+) Uganda shillings cash prize package at his home in Buwaate, Najjera 2, on Saturday 24th April 2021. The one-day event was a double round robin played under a time control of 10 minutes plus a 5 second increment per move. It was also FIDE rated and broadcasted live on the Followchess app. 

The players were:

  1. Ajiri Nygaard -1715
  2. Ajiri Benjamin Netanyahu – 1482
  3. Haggai Mawejje Israel – unrated
  4. Hannah Zion Mawejje – unrated
  5. Mwase Arthur – unrated
  6. Mwase Matthew – unrated
Participants of The Wanyama Invitational Juniors Chess Tournament 2nd Edition 26-04-2021

The tournament was very competitive and full of upsets. Some of the losses were too painful that players couldn’t hold back their tears. The event had a total of 10 rounds and there was a lunch break after the 6th round. By round 6, Second seed Ajiri Benjamin was enjoying a 0.5-point lead ahead of Mwase Matthew and a 1 point lead ahead of top seed Nygaard. The only lady who participated, Hannah Mawejje was having rough day at office and she hadn’t scored a point by round 6!

The Venue and Setup

The event intensified during round 7 as Benjamin who was in the lead met with Nygaard who he was ahead of by just 1 point. This meant that Benjamin had to score a point inorder to keep his chances of winning the event alive. There was stiff competition between these two and Benjamin had earlier on survived by a whisker during round 2 when Nygaard’s time ran out in a winning position. This however didn’t stop him from winning the game and retaining the lead. It was a tough game and Benjamin was in a bad position from the middle game. It was on move 30 when Nygaard gave up the initiative by playing 30. Kh1 Bd8 instead of 30. Kh1 Qf2 which would maintain the tension in the game and keep Benjamin’s king locked up in the h1 corner waiting to be mated! Benjamin immediately ceased the opportunity and attacked Nygaard’s king like a wounded lion. On move 50, Nygaard landed in hot soup and had two choices to make, getting checkmated or giving up a bishop. He gave up his bishop to save the game but resigned 15 moves later.

Ajiri Benjamin Netanyahu – 1482

Hannah on the other hand unleashed iron lady moves on Mwase Arthur in the same round and put him between a rock and a hard place! She won a very excellent tactical game and secured her first point of the event sending Arthur into an emotional breakdown. 

Mwase Arthur – unrated

There was a sharp twist of events during round 8 as Mwase Mathew won a very crucial game against Benjamin and grabbed the top spot from him. Benjamin misplayed the opening and got severe lashings from his opponent. The young man was left in excruciating pain as he couldn’t believe what had just happened! Haggai was so unfortunate and later on burst into tears when his time ran out while a queen up against Mwase Arthur!

Haggai Mawejje Israel – unrated

Matthew maintained the lead winning all his remaining games and went on to win the event with 8.5 points. He shocked the spectators as no one had voted for him as a potential winner of the event. The final standings are shown below:

  1. Mwase Matthew – 8.5Pts 
  2. Ajiri Benjamin Netanyahu – 8Pts
  3. Ajiri Nygaard – 6Pts
  4. Mwase Arthur – 4.5Pts
  5. Hannah Zion Mawejje – 2Pts
  6. Haggai Mawejje Israel – 1Pt
Final Standings

The advertised prize pool was $200 but appreciation goes to Dr Joseph and Mr Mawejje Geoffrey who added $93 to push it to $293. The new prize structure was ;

  1. $84
  2. $70
  3. $55
  4. $42
  5. $28
  6. $14

We managed to get a few remarks from some of the players and this was what they said;

The only female participant Hannah Zion Mawejje – unrated

“It was a tough event to be honest. I lost many games but it was a good experience for me. The boys were tough but I’ll work on my mistakes and play better next time.”

– Hannah Zion Mawejje
Tournament Top Seed Ajiri Nygaard -1715

“I am so disappointed that Benjamin slipped out of my hands twice! I had him by the neck in both encounters but he sneaked away. Anyways I would like to thank the sponsors for giving me a chance to participate. I look forward to playing in more events like this one.”

Ajiri Nygaard
The eventual winner of the event Matthew Mwase – unrated

“I’m so happy right now. Everyone was tough but it’s a good thing that I won. Much appreciation to the organizers and sponsors for this. And to my opponents, you guys were hard!”

Matthew Mwase

Harold Wanyama in his own words said, “The main purpose for arranging the event was to get the kids battle hardened and to also provide a training and practicing ground for them. I’m so happy with the progress of the kids and I have to say that the future is bright. Congratulations to Matthew for winning the event. I’m having plans of organizing a ladies’ event too in the near future.”

Harold also purchased three electronic boards to help with live broadcast of future tournaments. 

Finally I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to ensure that the event was a success. 

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