Rongin Munyurangabo, 19, has continued to hold onto the top spot and seal his slot in the next round of the qualifiers for the 2020 Chess Olympiad after beating Eugene Kagabo in round 3 and sharing the spoils with Fidele Mutabazi in round 4, on Sunday.
The next phase of qualifiers is scheduled for March.
After the final two rounds scheduled to be played on Sunday, January 26, only the top eight will qualify for the subsequent but tougher matches in the second round.
The just started qualifiers will help the chess federation select one team in Open Section and one team in the Women's Section. Each team comprises five players.
Qualifiers in the women’s category will start in March.
Munyurangabo, leading with 3.5 points, is unbeaten after four games.
Mutabazi is second in the table with 3.0 points from two wins and two draws. Third is Elysee Tuyizere with 3.0 points from three wins.
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.
The final phase of qualifiers – both in the open and women sections – will be played in May.
Munyurangabo is eager to follow in his younger sister’s footsteps this year if he makes the national team for the first time.
“I will fight hard till the end. I know the contest has just begun, and there will be tougher games ahead. But I will give it my all and hope for the best,” Munyurangabo said.
Two years ago, his sister, Woman FIDE master (WFM) Joselyne Uwase, 16, made history during the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, when the world chess federation (FIDE) confirmed her WFM title.
It was a first for Rwanda.
As was the case at the 2018 edition in Georgia, Rwanda will be represented by 10 players – five in each section – at this year’s Chess Olympiad.