Tuesday, 13 July 2010 23:13


Chess originated from the two-player Indian war game, Chatarung, which dates back to 600 A.D. In 1000 A.D, chess spread to Europe by Persian traders. The piece neuganda_02xt to the king was called a ferz in Persian, defined as a male counselor to the king. The Europeans concocted a more romantic imagery, and changed the ferz to a queen. At that time, the queen was the weakest piece on the board. The bishop was also a short-range piece. Because the queen and bishop were so weak, the game was much slower than it is today. It took a long time for a player to develop the pieces and even longer to checkmate the enemy king. Medieval chess players often started out with tabiyas, midgame starting positions to speed up the game. Medieval chess was extremely popular. Sometimes, a game of chess was used as an excuse to allow a young man and woman intimate time alone.

At the end of the 15th century, the rules underwent a sudden sea change. The queen transformed from the weakest piece on the board to the strongest! At the same time, the bishop became the long-range piece that it is today. These changes quickened the game's pace. The battle was intensified. Mistakes were harshly punished, tabiyas were no longer necessary, and violent checkmates were executed much more often than before. The inventor of these changes is unknown; probably the new rules were not thought up by an individual, but came about from collective experimentation. These new rules were standardized by the 16th century advent of mass production and the printing press. The faster paced game was more suitable for organized play, chess notation, codified rules, and strategy books.


Chess in Uganda was first played seriously in the 1960s but formal administrative structures for the game were put in place in 1972 with the formation of the Uganda Chess Federation, which was then referred to as the Chess Association of Uganda. The founders of this association were Mr. Paul Bitarabeho (deceased), Mr. Lawrence Kapanga (deceased) and Dr. Yusuf Mpairwe.  These three pioneers later teamed up with a team of other chess enthusiasts mainly doctors from Mulago Hospital to pave the way for the future of the game in the country.

In the early days, chess in Uganda was played without reference to theory. Perhaps the first chess literature to be shared amongst players was a photocopied chess book donated as a wedding gift to Mr. Mathew Kibuuka.

Several tournaments were played in the mid seventies and the Federation started publishing a chess magazine titled Checkmate, which went a long way in popularizing the game in the country. In the late 70s young men like Willy Zabasajja (deceased) and Silver Kamuhangire appeared on the scene and took the chess fraternity by storm. Zabasajja later won the national chess championship for a record nine times and became the first FIDE Master in East Africa.Court of Arms

 Uganda won its first ever medal at the World Olympiad through Mr. Amos Mungyereza (deceased) who scooped a Silver medal on Board six (6) at the 1982 Olympiad held in Switzerland. That was later followed by a landmark occasion in 1996 when a young prodigy Geoffrey Makumbi won Gold at 17 years on Board six (6) at the Olympiad held in Yerevan, Armenia.

A Ugandan engineer based in the UK, Andrew Naimanye (rated 2360) holds the record for the highest ever rating to be held by an East African.

Currently, the only titled players in Uganda are CM Patrick Kawuma and his London based siblings FM Stephen Kawuma and FM Moses Kawuma. Patrick obtained the title after putting up the best performance for on the Ugandan team at the Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk - Russia in September - October 2010. Stephen acquired the title after a splendid display in an African Individual Chess Championship held in Namibia in 2007 while Moses got it after registering and impressive performance at the 2008 Olympiad in Germany where he scored more than 90% on his board and had the best individual performance.


1.         The Late Paul Bitarabeho      (1978 – 1990)

2.         Mr. Mathew Kibuuka             (1992 – 1995)

3.         Late Cyril Rwabushenyi        (1995 – 1998)

4.         Mr. Daniel Nsibambi             (1998 – 2003)

5.         Mr. Enock Barumba              (2003 – 2005)

6.         Mr. Jack Mucunguzi              (2006)

7.         Mr. Joe Kaamu                    (2007 – 2010)

8.         Mr. Vianney Luggya             (2011 - todate)


1980 La Valletta, Malta Points

  1. Zabasajja Willy 4.0

  2. Musasira O 1.0

  3. Mungyereza Amos 3.5

  4. Kisubi Wilson 5.0

  5. Kamuhangire Silver 4.0

  6. Kiiza 0

1982 Lucerne, Switzerland

     1. Kamuhangire Silver 4.5

     2. Zabasajja Willy 6.0

     3. Zirembuzi George W 3.0

     4. Mpeka Muhumuza 0.5

  1. Mungyereza Amos 8.5


1984 Thessaloniki, Greece

1. Mungyereza Amos 5.5

2. Zabasajja Willy 6.0

3. Kamuhangire Silver 7.0

  1. Barumba Enoch 4.0

  2. Okoth Joachim 4.0

  3. Kibuuka Matthew 0


1986 Dubai, UAE

1. Zabasajja Willy 6.0

2. Okoth Joachim 6.0

  1. Barumba Enoch 2.0

  2. Mpeka Muhumuza 3.0

  1. Ssentongo Edward 2.5

  2. Bwanika Daniel 4.0


1988 Thessaloniki, Greece

1. Kabuye Emmanuel 4.0

2. Zabasajja Willy 2.0

3. Kamuhangire Silver 6.5

4. Okoth Joachim 4.0

5. Bwanika Daniel 2.5

6. Ssentongo Edward 4.5


1990 Novi Sad, Yugoslavia

1. Zabasajja Willy 2.5

2. Kamuhangire Silver 5.5

  1. Ssentongo Edward 5.0

  2. Okoth Joachim 6.0

  3. Kabuye Emmanuel 6.5

  4. Matovu George 0


1992 Manila, Philippines

1. Naimanye Andrew 5.5

2. Zabasajja Willy 6.5

3. Kamuhangire Silver 6.0

4. Okoth Joachim 7.0

5. Ssentongo Edward 0

6. Kabuye Emmanuel 0



1994 Moscow, USSR

Uganda did not participate


1996 Yerevan, Armenia Points

1. Zabasajja Willy 1.0

2. Lauritsen Niels 3.0

3. Opio Stephen 4.0

4. Bisereko Godfrey 5.0

5. Kantinti Shadrack 4.0

6. Makumbi Godfrey 7.5


1998 Elista, Kalamykia

1. Opio Steven 3.0

2. Bisereko Godfrey 3.0

3. Nsubuga Grace 3.5

4. Kakumba Umar 3.5

5. Kakooza Kenneth 4.5

6. Kisuze Stephen 5.0


2000 Istanbul, Turkey

1. Nsubuga Grace 5.5

2. Opio Steven 4.0

3. Bibasa Bob 3.0

4. Kakooza Kenneth 3.5

5. Kantinti Shadrack 3.5

6. Kawuma Steven 6.0


2002 Bled, Slovenia

1. Nsubuga Grace 4.5

2. Kantinti Shadrack 4.5

3. Kawuma Steven 7.0

4. Wanderema Ignatius 1.0

5. Munanira Isaac 5.5

6. Mwaka Emmanuel 1.0


2004 Calvia, Spain

1. Kawuma Steven 4.0

2. Nsubuga Grace 1.5

3. Munanira Isaac 2.0

4. Kawuma Moses 5.0

5. Kantinti Shadrack 5.5

6. Washaba Fred 6.5


2006 Turin, Italy

1. Kawuma Steven 5.0

2. Kantinti Shadrack 7.0

3. Munanira Isaac 3.5

4. Kaamu Joseph 0

5. Kikonyogo John 0

6. Kawuma Moses 7.5


2008 Dresden, Germany



2010 Khanty Mansiysk, Russia


1. Wanyama Harold

2. Kawuma Patrick

3. Kantinti Shaddrack

4. Kawuma Steven

5. Bibasa Bob Gilbert



1. Ivy Amoko

2. Phiona Mutesi

3. Grace Kigeni

4. Rita Nansubuga

5. Butindo Joan

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