Chess: Rongin Munyurangabo, 19, extends unbeaten run to 12 games

Rongin Munyurangabo booked his slot in the second round of Olympiad qualifiers just after the first four games on Sunday, January 19. File photo

Round 5 of the qualifiers to select Rwanda’s flag bearers – in the open section – for the 44th Chess Olympiad on Sunday saw youngster Rongin Munyurangabo stretching his current unbeaten run to 12 competitive games after he tamed Elysée Tuyizere.

The stunning streak includes seven games from last month’s national championships and five in the first round qualifiers for the 2020 Olympiad.

Courtesy of the win, Munyurangabo also maintained a commanding lead at the top of the table with 4.5 points, followed by Eugene Mugema Kagabo and 17-year-old Ian Murara Urwintwari who are level at 3.5 points.

By press time Sunday, round matches were yet to get underway at the University of Rwanda’s Gikondo Campus – formerly SFB.

Munyurangabo, 19, has been a dominant force in the qualifiers since opening round on January 18, and became the first player to seal his spot in the second phase qualifies – scheduled for March – after he collected 3.5 points out of a possible from the first four games.

Round 5 on Sunday morning was crunch time for most hopefuls because, after the final two rounds, only the top eight would advance to the subsequent but tougher matches in the next round.

Sensational Munyurangabo played black pieces against Tuyizere, who was then third after four rounds and also looking to progress.

The next phase, in March, will also mark the beginning of the qualifiers in women’s section. The final phase in both sections will be played in May.

The Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament bringing together teams from all over the world. The 2020 edition will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from August 5 to 18.

At the 2018 Olympiad in Georgia, Rwanda was represented by ten players – five in Open Section and five in Women’s Section – where two youngsters in the women’s category earned titles; Woman FIDE Master (WFM) and Woman Candidate Master (WCM) titles.

Joselyn Uwase, then aged 15, secured the WFM title, making her the highest titled Rwandan in world chess ranks.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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