Rwanda’s chess players must dig deeper if they are really to earn respect in the region. This is the key message from the country’s two representatives at the recently concluded Zone 4.2 individual championship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Reigning women national chess champion Marie Faustine Shimwa and her Knight Chess Club colleague Valentin Rukimbira played in the women and open sections of the week-long tournament, respectively.
Shimwa ended up in eighth with four points from three wins and two draws in nine matches. Shimwa told Times Sport that her opponents were more confident and experienced.
“I learnt a lot in this competition. Even though I didn’t make the top five I believe Rwanda’s representative in the next Zone 4.2 individual championship will pull it off,” she said.
Rukimbira had four points from the open section, with two wins and four draws. She said: “I think I need to work on my chess harder, strategically. I don’t really know if it’s just me or if all of us in Rwanda need to do some deep thinking.”
The duo can rue lost opportunities but the fact is that the Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) has a mountain to climb if Rwandan players will ever match the best in the region and beyond.
The winners of the championship, in the open and women sections, were teenagers from Egypt, who easily dominated the tournament.
FIDE Master (FM) Kandil Adham, a 14 year old, got the better of everyone in the open section to take home US$ 1,000 cash prize.
In the women category, Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Wafa Shrook, 18, also from Egypt, emerged top winning herself US$750.