The National Chess League kicked off on a high with a record 20 clubs in action at Hotel Africana on Sunday 27 May 2012. New clubs such as DMARK Power Chess Club and revitalised clubs are set to give defending champions, Mulago Kings Chess Club a run for their money. Two rounds were played in what will be the biggest Chess League ever played; with each club fielding a total of five players per match it means that there are no fewer than 100 players excluding substitutes and spectators at any one time. Total registered players by all participating clubs is expected to tip last year's 183 that was a record in itself. The fact that the fifth board player has to be a lady introduces an interesting twist, where clubs have been at pains in the days leading to the start of league to secure the best ladies in order to strengthen their board 5. This is not helped by Mulago Queens a team of only ladies, and at that who are the best in the land.

DMARK Power started off with two wins in the first two rounds against Mulago Queens 4.5-1.5 and against Uganda Chess Academy (UCA) 3-2. DMARK is led on the board by National Champion, Arthur Ssegwanyi and FM Elijah EMojong who both won their first two games to help the team to an eventual 7.5 points.

On their part, Mulago Kings started off from where they stopped last year whipping newcomers Lweza Kings 5-0 and Mulago Queens 4-1 to amass 9 points. Harold Wanyama, CM Patrick Kawuma, Grace Nsubuga, and Farouk Fauza all did well, to dispell any lingering view that Ssegwanyi's exit could dent Kings strength. Their biggest weakness remains on Board 5 whey they have earned just one point.

Third placed Aviation Chess Club was inspired by the return to competitive action of East Africa's highest rated Eng. FM Andrew Naimanye and FM Stephen Kisuze to win two matches against Makerere University 3.5-1.5 and against Makindye Chess Club 3.5-1.5. In the Aviation - Makindye game, Aviation's FM Naimanye who had earlier on drawn with MUK's Ivan Meri succumbed to a shock defeat at the hands of former Olympian Kanduho Godfrey, as FM Kisuze Stephen, UCF President Vianney Luggya, and Joan Nakimuli beat their opponents to sound their intentions towards the title this year.

FM Naimanye (left) of Aviation in action against former Olympian Kanduho (right) of Makindye in the second round

The other new teams, Makerere University Business School (MUBS) drew with Kireka 2.5-2.5 and beat UCU 4-1 while Entebbe Knightmare Chess Club led by a Kenyan Mike Kinuthia and featuring two Ugandan Indians, probably inspired by Vishwanathan Anand's Exploits in Moscow! beat Mengo 3-2 and Mulago Pawns 3-2.

Raju Sharma of Entebbe being made to work by Babirye Stella of Mualgo Pawns

Mengo beat Bank of Uganda Chess Club 3-2, as Barclays Bank Chess Club were waylaid by Mulago Knights going down 4 - 0.

Last year's runners up City Chess Club still reeling from the loss of their inspirational Haruna Nsubuga to MUBS were held to a 2.5 - 2.5 draw by Mulago Rooks.

The third round of the National Chess League will be played on Sunday 10th June 2012 at Hotel Africana with some interesting games featuring leaders Mulago Kings against Uganda Chess Academy and second placed DMARK up for a tough challenge against City Chess Club.

The ranking after two rounds can be found at: Chess-Results.com

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