Chess Olympiad 2018: Youngsters shine in round 6

Today: Round 7

Open: Rwanda vs Togo

CM Maxence Murara (1789) vs CM Adama Ephoevi-Ga (1848)                             

Joseph Nzabanita (1849) vs Komlan Amewounou (1758)           

Ian Murara Urwintwari (1677) vs Yawotsu Numatsi (1661)

Alain Niyibizi (1756) vs Sopague Kolani-Banake (1635)  

Women: Rwanda vs Bermuda       

Odile Kalisa Kayitesi vs Zuzana Kovacova (2079)              

Layola Murara Umuhoza vs Shiela Cancino (1456)             

Joselyne Uwase (1551) vs Yasmin Flanagan

Christelle Uwamahoro vs Olga Gontcharova

Teenagers Christelle Uwamahoro, 14, and Joselyne Uwase, 15, on Sunday registered inspirational wins as Rwanda’s Women team battled to a draw with Togo in round 6 of the ongoing Chess Olympiad 2018 in Batumi, Georgia.

It was Uwamahoro’s first game in the tournament, and Uwase’s fifth, in the 11-round tournament.

Rwanda chess federation president, Kevin Ganza, who accompanied the team in Georgia, told Times Sport in an exclusive telephone interview that, “It is good motivation for a 14-year old player to start her biggest tournament with a win.”

Uwamahoro is a reserve player on the Women team and – just like Uwase – a debutant at the Chess Olympiad.

“I have no doubt she [Uwamahoro] will continue in this direction, and though the opposite might happen, she will gain a lot for the future. I noted a particular level of concentration in her first game. If she keeps it up, she will do fine. As for Joselyne (Uwase), she is currently fighting for a title, and hopefully, she will get it if she keeps performing well.”

Uwase has won three games so far and two more wins are sure to earn her a World Chess Federation (FIDE) title. If she succeeds, she will be the first Rwandan girl, or woman, to get it.

While Uwamahoro dispatched Togo’s Nafissatou Gbadamassi fast, Uwase’s game with Ivana Claudia Eyram De Souza was a heart-racing encounter that ended after four nerve-racking hours.

Uwase opened rather poorly as she, clearly threw caution to the wind, in her search for a quick win. It was risky and she often landed herself in trouble in the middle game but her endgame brilliance saved the day for her, and her country.

In the Open section, Ian Murara Urwintwari, 16, managed a draw while all his senior teammates were put to the sword, and lost against the team from Guyana.
Urwintwari is the only teenager on the Open team.

More than an hour after all his teammates had surrendered, on Sunday, the youngster was still fighting.

Urwintwari mostly had an upper hand in the game but tended to, as it seemed, give too much respect to his older opponent and played reactively. But he was brave, brilliant and bullish till the end when the opponent who was playing white saw a chance to force a draw.

Today, Rwanda’s Women and Open teams return to action against Bermuda and Togo, respectively.

In round 7, this afternoon, the Women team which has 6.5 points meets Bermuda with 8.5 points after round 6.

The Open team continues to struggle and has 4 points before meeting with Togo which is 7 points better.

In the Open section, team Captain Valentin Rukimbira, has brought back Joseph Nzabanita after resting him in Round 6 yesterday. Fidele Mutabazi takes a rest from board 1 duties where he has not won a single game since Rwanda’s campaign began last Tuesday. CM Maxence Murara will take charge of board 1 while his son, Urwintwari, remains on board 3 and Niyibizi plays his third game on board 4.

In the Women section, Odile Kalisa Kayitesi retains her place on board 1 hoping to get her first win. Urwintwari’s sister, Umuhoza, is on board 2 and Uwase on board 3 while Uwamahoro gets her second game, on board 4.

Held regularly at two year intervals, the Chess Olympiad is the principal team contest organized by FIDE.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

ADVERTISEMENT