More than 30 players are taking part in the Easter Open Chess Classic at IPRC-Kigali in Kicukiro, since Friday.
The individual and rated three-day tournament is, among others, deemed to be a well-timed warm-up for the 10 members of the national team who will represent Rwanda at the Chess Olympiad 2018 later this year.
The organisers, MiniChess Rwanda, a local franchise of the award winning MiniChess educational programme in South Africa, told Times Sport that they “are very happy to host foreigners from Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan in our first tournament. We wish them a wonderful stay in Kigali.”
Two amateur players from Kenya have registered as well as two from Burundi and one from South Sudan.
Alain Niyibizi, the MiniChess Rwanda manager, said: “We are delighted for this first rated chess tournament organized by MiniChess Rwanda. MiniChess Rwanda will continue to raise the Chess game in Rwanda, either for kids and senior players.”
Teenagers Joselyne Uwase and Sandrine Uwase (reigning national women champion), both 15, Layola Umuhoza Murara, 14, and Ian Murara Urwintwari, 15, are among the Rwandan youths playing.
The latter are some of the players that early this month qualified to make the open and women’s national teams, respectively, for the Chess Olympiad 2018 later this year in Batumi, the second-largest city of Georgia, from September 23 to October 7.
Organised by the world chess federation (FIDE), the Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament where teams from all over the world compete. It comprises open and women’s tournaments, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess.
In 2016 Rwanda did not make it to the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, due to financial difficulties and hitches in travel preparations but according to Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) president, Kevin Ganza, preparations started early to avoid a repeat.