Uganda’s National Chess team outwitted Nairobi Chess Club 12-4 after four grueling rounds over the weekend (8-9 March 2014) in Nairobi, Kenya in what has over the last three years been dubbed “battle for Migingo”.

Uganda’s team that comprised of Arthur Ssegwanyi, FM Harold Wanyama, CM Patrick Kawuma and Walter Okas had the better of their Kenyan counterparts whose NCC team had Kenya’s National Champion Ben Magana, Mehul Gohil, Peter Gilruth and Brian Kidula.
The first round played on Saturday morning (8 March 2014) ended in a 2-2 draw, in the second round Uganda won 3.5-0.5, then won 3-1 in the third round and the score was 3.5-0.5 in Uganda’s favor in the last round.

Ssegwanyi was the best player on the Ugandan team winning all his four games against Gilruth, Mehul, Magana and Kidula, unrated Okas also did very well winning three and only drawing one against Magana. This puts Okas who already has 8 rated games from the recent Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship on course for his first international rating as the event in Kenya was also a rated tournament.

Patrick Kawuma won three and lost one to Mehul while FM Wanyama had an unusually difficult time that could cost him some valuable rating points after winning one against unrated Kidula, drawing the other with Gilruth and losing two to lower rated players in Magana and Mehul.

The Ugandan team returns to Kampala today after successfully defending the title for the third year running. The annual event helps improve on international rating points for players in the region and fosters friendship and cooperation among the two countries.

UCF is grateful to Nairobi Chess Club for hosting this year’s event and taking good care of the Ugandan team. Uganda is expected to reciprocate the gesture next year in Kampala.


Uganda Chess Federation has made giant strides in its efforts to increase on the number of internationally rated players in the country. According to FIDE’s March 2014 rating list, three more Ugandan ladies Joyce Kabengano, Victoria Nakirwadde and Christine Namaganda have acquired international ratings thereby bringing the total number of rated ladies to 6.

Kabengano got a first rating of 1628, Namaganda 1493 and Nakirwadde 1474. The three join WCM Ivy Amoko who was this month the Ugandan with the biggest overall rating points gain of 42 points to get to 1795 (highest rated lady as well), Grace Kigeni 1655 (gained 5.4 points) and WCM Phiona Mutesi 1648 (who lost 27 points following a dismal performance in recent events).

The new ratings and increase in rating points by the players is a result of increased activity especially FIDE rated events like the recent Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship and Kawuma Open. Amoko has in particular benefitted from the Federation’s policy of encouraging ladies to play alongside men like was the case in the Kawuma Open where she beat a higher rated Haruna Nsubuga (rated 2152 at the time and snatched some good points from him).

Among the male players, Simon Gonza is the new addition to the list of rated players having attained a high first rating of 2139. Quite a number of male players also benefitted from an increase in rating points led by Arthur Ssegwanyi who gained 30 points to get to 2281.

Youngster Benjamin Mukumbya was the other big beneficiary gaining 23 points from only participating in the Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship to get to 1940. Ssonko Mathias Allan gained 19.5 points to get to 2026; IM Elijah Emojong gained 13.8 points to rise to 2350 as CM Bob Bibasa gained 5.4 points to get to 2202.

In the process of gaining rating points, a few players who performed below par were unfortunate to lose some rating points. These include Fred Washaba who lost 27 points to get to a rating of 1969, ex Olympian Shadrack Kantinti lost 16 points to get to 2095 and FM Harold Wanyama lost 2 points to get to 2217. Aaron Kanaabi (1990), FM Stephen Kisuze (2101) and Raphael Buti (2121) also lost some rating points.

UCF now has a total of 39 rated active and inactive players. Given the number of rated events lined up for 2014, it is anticipated that the number of rated players will double by 2015.

Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship - Categories
Category A (Rated) Ladies Category Category B (Unrated) Under 14 Category
  1. 1st  1,200,000/= + Trophy
  2. 2nd   600,000/= + Trophy
  3. 3rd   300,000/= + Trophy
  4. 4th   200,000/=
  5. 5th   100,000/=
  1. 1st   600,000/= + Trophy
  2. 2nd   400,000/= + Trophy
  3. 3rd   200,000/= + Trophy
  1. 1st  500,000/= + Trophy
  2. 2nd  200,000/= + Trophy
  1. 1st Overall (Boy and Girl)  50,000/= + Trophy each
  2. Medal for winners under 12,10,8 (Boys and Girls)

Uganda’s Olympian Arthur Ssegwanyi (2251) has won the FIDE rated category of the Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship that run from 3 to 6 January 2014 at Hotel Africana in Kampala with 7 points out of a possible 8. Ssegwanyi was unbeaten in the event and notched 6 wins and 2 draws, tying on the same number of points with pre-event favourite IM Elijah Emojong (2339) whom he beat with a better tie break.

To win the highly competitive FIDE rated category, Ssegwanyi beat Daahir Bashil (Somalia), Brian Kidula (Kenya), IM Elijah Emojong, Rajab Kamoga, Daniel Baagaadde and Bob Bibasa. He drew with Walter Okas and Haruna Nsubuga.

It was such  competitive event and the winner had to dig deep in the last round to eke out a win against a much determined Baagadde. the tension in the final round game was not helped by the fact that his rival and title contender, Emojong had a winning position against CM Bibasa on the next board. For his efforts, Ssegwanyi walked off with one million two hundred thousand Uganda Shillings, the biggest top prize in Ugandan Chess history plus the much coveted trophy.

Defending Champion, FM Harold Wanyama had a shaky start that saw him lose first to Emojong the fellow FM Stephen Kisuze before he rounded off his subsequent opponents to finish in third position behind Emojong and also walk off with the second runners up trophy.

Kenya’s highest rated active player, Peter Gilruth had a slow start in the event, drawing a series of games against mediocre Ugandan opposition before getting in the mood and finding his footing to win the last three games against Alex Niyonzima, ex Olympian Shadrack Kantinti and the decisive and most important last round win against Haruna Nsubuga (2152) which propelled him to fourth position in the prize bracket. That game had many twists and turns with Nsubuga having had the advantage and a Pawn Up in a Bishop, Rook Pawns endgame that Gilruth converted in excellent fashion. It lasted hours on end and ought to be started by all upcoming players in the East African region.

On his part, Kenya’s National Champion, Ben Magana hauled himself from a slow start to ninenteenth position with 4 points. Such is testimony of the competitive nature of the event. Many East African players have in the past tested the wrath and brutality of Magana on board and know what he is capable of.

The revelation of the tournament was unrated Walter Okas who gave top players a bloody nose throughout the event and finished in an impressive sixth position with 5 points. 17 year old Benjamin Mukumbya who is fresh from the World Youth Chess Championship in Al Ain,UAE where he got his first rating also put in a good performance that saw him finish in ninth position. This category attracted 36 top players.

In the ladies category, WCM Ivy Amoko proved her Master worth as she won it with a maximum 8 points after she beat Debby Katland Wanja i  the last round. She was followed by Chrisine Namaganda at 6.5 points and National Ladies Champion Grace Kigeni in third with 6 points. WCM Phiona Mutesi who won the category last yer endured a difficult tourney and this time finished in sixth position. The ladies category had 23 participants.

The unrated category which attracted the bulk of players was won by youngster Richard Tugume with 7.5 points followed by Malcolm Etoru at 7 points and they each walked off with trophies and cash prizes.

The Under 14 boys category was won by Henry Kimbowa while the under 14 girls was won by Gloria Nansubuga.

A total of 166 players participated in the event that was sponsored by Civil Aviation Authority to the tune of eleven million six hundred thousand shillings in memory of their former Director Airport, Cyril Rwabushenyi who was also a former President of the Uganda Chess Federation.

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