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The Rwanda Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament

by Ogunsiku Babatunde
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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.

Rwanda from the eye of Forbes!

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!?

Game On!

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.

FM Kawuma Patrick receiving up his trophy from the RCF President

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.

Uganda Chess Federation President – Engr Mwaka Emmanuel

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

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 RpKrtg+/-
11FMKawuma PatrickUGA23365,50,022,019,002338209,2
24CMBibasa BobUGA21385,00,525,520,2522942024,8
33Ssonko Mathias AllanUGA21555,00,522,017,5022102011,8
42FMNsubuga HarunaUGA22634,00,024,014,00209820-12,0
514Namwanza KennedyUGA17594,00,021,011,2519844075,2
66Kizza Faruk Fauza KarimUGA20314,00,020,511,501995200,8
711Nzabanita JosephRWA18154,00,019,09,0017652012,6
87Wagodo Abdul ShakuruUGA19224,00,016,09,00172420-15,0
98Kimera InnocentUGA18723,50,021,59,7519234016,8
105AFMMwaka EmmanuelUGA20673,50,019,09,50182920-24,0
119Michael Alier NoahSSD18443,50,018,58,7518274010,0
1218Mudangi IsaacUGA17213,50,016,55,7518472021,4
1315NAFTALY WACHIRA MWANGIKEN17533,00,022,09,001689403,6
1426Mutabazi HuguesBDI03,00,017,08,001654
1517Cyubahiro Ben PatrickRWA17343,00,016,54,5015454013,6
1622Nakirya VictoriaUGA13963,00,014,04,00131640-6,4
1712Kalule CaxtonUGA17972,50,021,06,75165040-29,6
1819Karenzi Gisa KevinRWA17012,50,017,56,25155040-24,0
1916Kaamu JosephUGA17512,50,017,54,75169320-7,8
2013Masiko EzekielUGA17652,50,016,55,25157940-38,8
2110Rukimbira ValentinRWA18382,00,019,54,00166120-16,0
2221Twizeyimana MethodeRWA14292,00,015,53,00127940-13,6
2320Mugisha IvanRWA15402,00,014,53,50147240-22,0
2427Namugga ElizabethUGA02,00,012,03,001247
2524WCMUwamahoro ChristelleRWA02,00,011,01,001206
2623Niyonsaba AlineRWA11651,50,016,02,251433403,6
2728YALE OLIVO KARLCGO01,00,011,50,001031
2825Fotso Fono Kevin LarryRWA00,00,016,50,00644

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.

Arthur Bitarinsa receiving his 2nd place prize

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.

Kagabo Mugema Eugene receiving his trophy

Rank after Round 6

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11Kagabo Mugema EugeneRWA16915,50,0521,5
22Bitarinsa ArthurUGA16385,00,0521,0
34Bikorimana SaveurRWA04,50,0417,5
43Munyurangabo RonjinRWA15804,00,0422,0
516Uwimana DidierRWA03,50,5317,5
611Ngarambe AnnaRWA03,50,5316,5
75Iradukunda Ange ClementRWA03,00,0322,5
814Rusa GrazzyRWA03,00,0319,0
99Mukama ChristianRWA03,00,0317,5
1010Mutete HappinessRWA03,00,0315,5
1115Uwimana FrancoiseRWA02,50,0214,5
1213Nshuti Kagarama MaxwellRWA02,00,0115,5
138Kabatesi KevineRWA02,00,0114,0
147Kabatesi DjazillaRWA01,50,0015,5
1512Ngaruye InnocentRWA01,00,0120,0
166Ishimwe Beza AimeRWA00,00,0013,5

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.

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