Kids impress at U-18 chess championships

The U-12 section got a new champion in Didier Uwimana, (Photos by James Karuhanga)

Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) president Kevin Ganza is happy 46 teenagers showed up for this year’s U-18 chess championships at IPRC-Kicukiro, in Kigali, despite bad weather.

Ganza said the past weekend’s intermittent rains affected the tournament “very negatively” but a considerable number still managed to participate.

Ganza said: “The rains affected very negatively, on numbers and starting time. We had expected 70 players and only 46 managed to show up and we started 11h30 instead of 9h00.”

“However, I'm very happy with the turn up; it really showed me the love for chess among the youngsters. They showed up despite the heavy rain. The other thing I'm happy about is that girls represented 48 percent of the total participants in this mixed or open tournament.”

Last year, the tournament which features under 18 year olds had 63 youngsters competing in three categories: U-12, U-15, and U-18.

The U-18 division in this year’s contest, as expected, was tougher than ever before considering the strength of players.

Cyubahiro Ben Patrick, 14, skipped the U-15 section and convincingly dominated the U-18 section. Courtesy 

Last year’s winner, Rusa Samuel Grazzy, 17, faced it rough and emerged seventh as Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, 14, forcefully took over as new U-18 champion. Cyubahiro was third in this section last year.

At the end of this year’s event he had 5.5 points in the six-round tournament and only faltered once, when he drew against Woman FIDE master (WFM) Joselyne Uwase, 15, in round five.

Fresh from representing Rwanda at the 43rd Chess Olympiad 2018, in Georgia, the history maker huffed and puffed all the way through the tournament and managed to make third runner up with 4.5 points.

The 2017 female National Chess Champion, Sandrine Uwase, 16, had it rough too as she emerged sixth with 4.0 points. She was especially lucky to win her sixth round encounter against Anna Ngarambe, 16, captain of the Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux school chess club.

The girls have little time to up their game ahead of next weekend’s national championships.

In the U-15 section, Dheer Chawla, 12, proved too tough for opponents.

In the U-15 section, Dheer Chawla, 12, proved too tough for opponents. He won all his six games, a feat he did last year in the U-12 section. By the look of things, it will take more than will power to dethrone the gifted youngster.


The U-12 section got a new champion in Didier Uwimana, 11, a persevering whiz kid who is also showing promise at an early age.


The 2018 winners:


Uwimana Didier        

Ngwinondebe Amanda          

Mugisha Sano Christian


Chawla Dheer

Iradukunda Mucyo Guy        

Bikorimana Bertin


Cyubahiro Ben Patrick           

Bikorimana Saveur     

WFM Uwase Joselyne