IM Arthur Ssegwanyi has once again displayed his knack for delivering when it matters most by winning eight straight games in the ongoing third and last phase of the Olympiad Qualifiers being played at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Rubaga. The highest rated East African won his fifth, sixth, seventh and eigth round games against Ntende Edgar, Mwaka Emmanuel, Bob Bibasa and Simon Gonza on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February 2016 to remain unbeaten and stretch the lead to a comfortable 1.5 points. The 11 round event takes a week's break to resume on Saturday 20 and end on Sunday 21 February 2016.
On other boards, the lion in FM Harold Wanyama roared as he also won all the four games he played this weekend against FM Kawuma Patrick, Kato Richard, Farouk Fauza and CM Daniel Baagadde to bounce back from two earlier rounds losses to get to a fairly comfortable third position with 6 points out of a possible 8.
FM Patrick Kawuma is in clear second position with 6.5 points after recovering from the loss to Wanyama to draw with Rajab Kamoga and beat a higher rated Walter Okas and unrated Richard Kato in the last two rounds.
Okas is currently in fourth position with 5.5 points but well in contention for a top five finish after he beat Emma Mwaka in the eight round.
Knocking on the door and looking forward to a maiden Olympiad berth are nearly men; Simon Gonza and Farouk Fauza with each having 4 points but up against stiff competition from the trio of Rajab Kamoga, ex Olympian Emma Mwaka and new kid on the block Edgar Ntende who all have 3 points but could easily gate crash the party and upstage the players on 4 points if they win their last three games. It even becomes more interesting considering that the next three rounds include head to head battles between Ntende and Gonza and Gonza versus Mwaka, which could prove to be decisive in determining the final shape of the national team. This is not to say that the top four in the standings are completely safe. They still need to negotiate results in the last rounds. Ssegwanyi, who has almost certainly qualified for the team with three rounds to spare still has rating points to think about in his last thee games against Wanyama, Kamoga and Kawuma, which makes this FIDE rated event more interesting and poised for a photo finish.
In the ladies category, Goretti Angolikin, Grace Kigeni, Phiona Mutesi, Joyce Kabengano and Christine Namaganda occupy the top five slots but competition is still tight. Angolikin and Kigeni share the lead with 6.5 points, Mutesi has 6, Kabengano 5.5 while Namaganda has 5. Sixth placed Winnie Okoth is on 4.5 points and is seriously knocking on the door while Stella Babirye and Shakira Ampaire also look like they still have a say in this.
The reward for the top five players in both categories is a place on the National Team to represent Uganda at the World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan in September 2016 and in the Africa Individual Chess Championship in Kampala, Uganda in May 2016.
Details of the two events can be accessed at: Open Category
and Ladies Category