Chess National Championship qualifiers begin Saturday

The two-day Chess National Championship Qualifiers are set to begin on Saturday at IPRC-Kigali. This is the first phase of games to decide six players, who qualify for the final event next month when this year’s male and female national champion will be known.
Marie Faustine Shimwa, is the women's chess defending national champion. File
Marie Faustine Shimwa, is the women's chess defending national champion. File

The two-day Chess National Championship Qualifiers are set to begin on Saturday at IPRC-Kigali. This is the first phase of games to decide six players, who qualify for the final event next month when this year’s male and female national champion will be known.

In order to allow for more players to participate, Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) president Kevin Ganza, on Thursday announced changes regarding the initial phase which was earlier supposed to run for three days, starting on Friday.

Ganza said that instead of seven rounds, six rounds will now be played starting Saturday.

The Championship Qualifiers is an annual event preceding the actual Championship where the best of the best battle for the national title.

Ganza said: “We will select the top six players who will contest in the final games next month, meet senior players for the ultimate tougher test. We expect a minimum of 15 players given that it will be a rated tournament.”

“Players want their initial ratings and therefore we expect they will register in numbers. It is a major event we are hosting since we resumed activities earlier in October,” he noted.

Unrated players as well as rated players with standard international rating of less than 1700 will participate in this weekend’s games.

The final, or the Championship which will be a nine rounds contest, is scheduled to be played on weekends of between December 9 and 17.

It remains to be seen, who stands a better chance to oust Alain Patience Niyibizi and Marie Faustine Shimwa, the 2015 male and female national champions. Last year, the Championship was not held the due to poor organization and the duo retained their titles.

Ganza has pledged that the poor tournament organization that impeded the event last year “will not happen again” as the tournament’s calendar was better planned and “we now have our own national arbiter and don’t rely on a foreign arbiter” for local tournaments.

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