By Luggya Vianney & Kisuze Stephen

Makerere University’s Arthur Ssegwanyi put up a splendid display to overcome Micheal Mawanda and Mathias Ssonko in the ninth and tenth rounds to win the 2011 National Chess Championship with 9 points out of 10 at Hotel Africana on Sunday 20th November 2011.

National Coach - Joachim Okoth hands over the winner's trophy to Arthur Ssegwanyi

For his efforts, Ssegwanyi, a fourth year Bachelor of Pharmacy student walked off with a prestigious trophy, the first for him in an illustrious chess career that has seen him consistently finish among the top ten in the last three years.

He now becomes the first player to qualify for Uganda’s national chess team, which will represent the country at the World Chess Olympiad to be held in Turkey in August 2012.

Ssegwanyi tied on the same number of points (9) with National Junior Chess Champion, Haruna Nsubuga with whom he had earlier on drawn in the seventh round. Nsubuga, who is just clocking 20 years of age also deserves credit for the manner in which he calmly and expertly disposed off more experienced opponents with composure. He is certainly talented and has a great future ahead of him.

To win the event, Ssegwanyi deservedly beat Ezekiel Kiggundu, James Nkemba, Harold Wanyama, Simon Gonza, FM Elijah Emojong, Farouk Fauza, Mawanda and Ssonko. He never lost a single game and only registered two draws against Daniel Bagadde and Nsubuga Haruna.

On his part, Nsubuga Haruna who was also unbeaten in the event, beat Atuhairwe Phillip, Michael Mawanda, Joseph Kaamu, Samuel Musaga, Emmanuel Mwaka, Farouk Fauza, David Muwanguzi and Bob Bibasa. He drew with Rajab Kamoga and Ssegwanyi.

Nsubuga was only beaten to the top spot by Ssegwanyi simply because one of his wins (against Bibasa) was by default (forfeit). The Chief Arbiter, FA Stephen Kisuze disqualified Bibasa from the event for indiscipline following failure to observe basic FIDE tournament regulations.

Defending champion, Harold Wanyama had a bad tournament and finished in a miserable 21st position. FM Elijah Emojong also had a dismal performance and failed to turn up for the last two rounds.

The top thirty in the Men’s category progressed to the next (second phase) of the Olympiad qualifiers in which they will compete alongside other internationally rated players who may not have participated in this event. They will be competing in a battle for the other four slots on the National team to raise a full team of five. The full detail of the open championshion can be accessed here.

The ladies category was won by Olympian Grace Kigeni with maximum points 11 of out 11. Grace also becomes the first lady to qualify for the Olympiad team, leaving only four other team slots to be battled for. In second place was Phiona Mutesi the wonder girl who continues to establish herself among Uganda's top lady players. In third place was Ivy Amoko closely followed in fourth by Christine Namaganda. A full ladies team has five players. The full detail of the ladies championship can be accessed here.

In a new initiative by Uganda Chess Federation to stuff winner's shelves with glamourous silverware, the winners took their trophies for keeps.

National Chess Championship 2011 Open and Ladies trophies

The 2011 edition of the National Championship climaxed with a blitz tournament, in which a total of 25 players took part. Arthur Ssegwanyi extended his championship form to win it decisively with a score of 8.5 out of a possible 9. Harold Wanyama tried to compensate his poor showing in the Championship by coming second with a score of 7.5 points. In third place, Stephen Kisuze put his official credentials to good use to post a total 6 points. In fourth place was Mukumbya Benjamin also with 6 points. The top three winners walked away with Uganda Shillings 50,000/=, 35,000/= and 25,000/= respectively. The full detail of the blitz tournament can be accessed here.

The National Championship provided a good warm up for many players for the upcoming Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championshionship. The return of experienced players such as Olympian Isaac Munanira, Buti Raphael and revelation of players like Daniel Baagadde, Ssonko Allan Mathias, Nkemba James were some of the other highlights.

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