Youngsters Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, 15, Ian Murara Urwintwari, 17, and Rongin Munyurangabo, 19, earned effortless wins in round 1 of the just started first phase of qualifiers to select Rwanda’s flag bearers at the 44th Chess Olympiad later this year.
Qualifiers in the open section begun Saturday morning at the University of Rwanda’s Gikondo Campus – formerly SFB.
Cyubahiro tamed James Karuhanga while Urwintwari beat Valentin Rukimbira, both opponents being seniors. Munyurangabo got the better of Methode Twizeyimana, 20.
The toughest battles in round 1, however, seemed to be the protracted duels pitting Ben Tom Zimulinda against the Kevin Ganza and the one between Fidele Mutabazi and Elysee Tuyizere. Eventually, Ganza who was under time pressure managed a draw while in the longest game – three and a half hours – Mutabazi won.
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete. The 2020 edition is scheduled for August 5-18 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
Four rounds will be played this weekend, with the remaining two rounds in the preliminary round due January 26.
The best eight in the open section contest will join Rwanda’s top four players – rated above 1800 – in the second phase of qualification competitions in March.
Qualifiers in the women section will also start in March.
The final phase of qualifiers – both in the open and women sections – will be played in May.
Only five players are selected for the national team in both sections.