Uganda's Haruna Nsubuga was the biggest winner at the just concluded Zone 4.2 Africa Chess Championship after winning his last game on the final day to get to 4.5 points out of 9, a 50 percent score, the mandatory requirement for a FIDE Master title. No other player from all the participating six countries attained a title.
The event was won by Egyptian Grandmaster Amin Bassem with 8.5 points who qualified for the 2015 African Grand Prix and scooped 1000 Euros and a prestigious trophy.
To get to 4.5 points, Nsubuga beat Egypt's Hatem Eldesoky, Burundi's Wilfried Ntamatungiro, Tanzania's Mlawa Hemed and Rwanda's Ruteremara Thetime and drew with Egypt's Amin Ashiraf. He lost to IM Abdulrazik Khaled, IM Ezat Mohammed, GM Amin Bassem and Kenya's Moses Andiwoh. The loss to Kenya's less fancied Andiwoh in one of the early rounds perhaps acted as a timely wake up call for Nsubuga to up his game and finish on a high.
The event winner automatically attains an International Master title but since it was won by a Grandmaster that award became non applicable. As it was, Nsubuga who was the only non titled player to score 4.5 points or more became the only title beneficiary out of the 12 players who took part in the Open category.
Nsubuga now becomes Uganda's seventh FIDE Master in addition to FMs Harold Wanyama, Andrew Naimanye, Stephen Kisuze, Arthur Ssegwanyi, Moses Kawuma and Stephen Kawuma. The other titled Ugandan players include IM Elijah Emojong (the only IM in East Africa), CM Patrick Kawuma and CM Bob Bibasa. The titled ladies are WFM Ivy Amoko and WCM Phiona Mutesi.
Overall, Nsubuga finished in sixth position. Rwanda's Ruteremara finished ninth with 2 points, so did Kenya's Andiwoh in tenth and Tanzania's Mlawa in eleventh while Burundi's Ntamatungiro finished in twelvth position.
The ladies category was won by Egypt's WGM Wafa Shrook with 6.5 out of 7. In second position was Shahenda Wafa with 6 points and third was Mohames Enas. Uganda's Joyce Kabengano, who was making a debut at such an event was given a rude welcome to the big stage as she finished with one point.
Egypt's Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashraf Sobhi and Zone 4.2 President, Vianney Luggya handed over the prizes and trophies to the winners at the closing ceremony held at Indiana Hotel in Cairo on Saturday 29 November 2014.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Zonal President hailed the Africa Chess Confederation (ACC) leadership for ensuring that this year's zonal had the biggest number of participants in recent years with a total of 6 countries (including Rwanda and Kenya which have for long not featured in the zonal) participating in the event. The ACC, upon request from the zonal President, catered for air ticket costs for players from Rwanda and Kenya.
Luggya expressed optimism that next year's Zone 4.2 Chess Championship which will be held in Kampala, Uganda in April 2015 will even attract more countries and players. As next year's hosts, Uganda will have an opportunity to field at least five players in the event.
The winner of the 2015 zonal will automatically qualify for the 2015 World Cup.