Chess: Genocide Memorial Tournament starts Saturday

Happiness Mutete, seen here during the 2017 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament, was one of the most impressive youngsters last year. She finished in 11th position. / File

The 2019 Genocide Memorial Chess Tournament (GMCT) is scheduled to start Saturday at Classic Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda Chess Federation (Ferwade) has announced.

Just like the previous events, the tournament will have two sections – the highly contested and rated section and, the open and unrated section – where local and foreign chess enthusiasts compete for medals and cash prizes.

According to Ferwade president Kevin Ganza, this year, the open section was limited to players with less than 1700 rating “in order to encourage strong players to take part in the international section.”

Ganza said: “So far, we have entries of players from Uganda, DRC, South Sudan and Rwanda. We are happy for the growing love of the game locally and the continuous support from players from the region despite some changes in tournament organization.”

The changes include a slight drop in prizes and the “squeezed” six rounds that will be played in two days – Saturday and Sunday – in the international section, which has always started on Friday.

“But we are happy that we managed to keep the tournament on schedule despite [last minute] changes in its sponsorship.”

Rwandan youngsters made an impression during the 2018 GMCT despite members of the Ugandan delegation dominating the medals podium.

In the open section, last year, Rwandan teenager Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, surprised many by emerging third – and best junior – after losing only one game in the six-round contest. Since then, Cyubahiro has improved his game and will be hoping to shine again.

With four wins each, Happiness Mutete, then a primary six pupil of Ecole Primaire Kinunga, in Gikondo, and Joselyne Uwase, then a senior two student of GS Kimisange, got awarded best ladies. But Mutete took home a trophy due to her tie-break advantage.

Overall, Mutete was 11th and Uwase 17th.

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