Chess: Rwanda Open gets underway

Eugene Kagabo, winner of the 2016 Rwanda Open, is seen here during a recent local tournament in Kigali. Courtesy.

The annual Rwanda Chess Open tournament is back after a two-year lull and will be resumed this weekend, starting Friday to Sunday, the Rwanda Chess Federation has said.

The 2018 edition was cancelled and replaced by Easter Open Chess Classic while the 2017 Rwanda Open was also called off due to the suspension of Chess activities in the country for the federation’s lack of legal status, by that time.

Players from the region, including Kenya and Uganda, are expected to participate.

According to Kevin Ganza, president of the local chess federation, it is hard to predict the exact number of participants, but basing on similar international tournament held last year such as the Genocide Memorial Tournament where a total of 90 players turned up, a good number of participants is expected to turn up for the 2019 Rwanda Open.

Ganza said: “It is good to have the Rwanda Open back and also maintain its international standing which allows us to host players with over 2100 rating, from the region.”

“This helps local players learn and improve their games. We expect a good turn up of local players as this is one of the opportunities for some to raise their ratings and for others to get their initial ratings in addition to gaining tournament experience.”

The last Rwanda Open, in 2016, attracted 44 participants and was won by Rwanda’s Eugene Kagabo. Candidate Master (CM) Ben Magana from Kenya and Rwanda’s CM Godfrey Kabera were second and third, respectively.

The 2016 tournament attracted players from Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, as well as locals.