EIGHT local chess players have advanced to the final round of the national qualifiers for the bi-annual International Chess Olympiad set for August in Tromso, Norway.
They include the reigning national champion Godfrey Kabera, who is tipped to grab one of the five slots that will be at stake. The final round of qualifiers is scheduled for May 1 to 10 at Kigali Institute of Science and technology (KIST).
En-route to the final round, Kabera defeated Theotime Rutaremara with a 27.5 score mark out of 30 in a very tight game played last Saturday at KIST.
‘’It was a tough game but I managed to get through it and I am optimistic of snatching a place on the national team for the World Olympiad,” said Kabera, who is ranked 1909 internationally. He however noted that more preparations are still needed, “I still have to work very hard so as to improve my game and be able to stage a good performance in the Olympiad.”
Despite the defeat, Rutaremara, one of the most experienced chess players in the country also qualified for the final round. Other players who reached the final round include; Alex Ruzigura, Fidele Mutabazi, Eugene Kagabo, Alain Niyibizi, Maxence Murara and
Jean Baptiste Hakizimana. Rwanda has previously participated in several Chess Olympiads but failed to impress - and the country is currently ranked 145th by the World
Chess Federation, behind regional giants Uganda at 105, Burundi at 128 and Kenya at 139.