Online Chess Olympiad: Rwanda to begin quest on July 29

Ben Patrick Cyubahiro finished top in the rehearsal tournament held over weekend. Craish Bahizi

Rwanda's first three matches in the FIDE Online Olympiad 2020, to be held between July 22 and August 30, will start on July 29.

This comes after the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced all seeded divisions' teams last week.

 

Rwanda is among the 38 countries in division 4 along with east African counterparts Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Team pairings in the division are expected to be announced over the weekend.

 

Rwanda has a squad of 12 players and a captain.

 

Hopes are high for youngsters on the team following a rehearsal tournament held on July 19-20. Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, 15, and Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Joselyne Uwase, 17, battled hard to emerge first and third, respectively.

WFM Joselyne Uwase is seen here in action during the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. File

Number two was Candidate Master (CM) Ben Magana, a seasoned senior player from Kenya.

Ben Tom Zimurinda, the acting federation president on Tuesday, July 21, told Times Sport that "we are moving fast, and against all odds, to ensure our team is facilitated to play in a good and secure environment."

In the next few days, he said, they hope to organise friendly matches with national teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Namibia.

The FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 will be the first of its kind. It consists of two main stages: a division stage and a playoff stage.

There will be five divisions. A combination of qualification and seedings will eventually determine what the top division will look like.

The top division will consist of five seeded teams, five nominated teams, and 15 teams that qualified from the second division. Divided into four pools, the top three teams of each pool qualify for the playoff stage.

The new tournament comes after the main 2020 Chess Olympiad, a biannual event earlier scheduled for August 5-17, was moved to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like the regular, biannual event, the Online Olympiad is a competition for teams that represent their national chess federations.  FIDE has instructed federations that half of the teams should be female players and also give a chance to junior players.

Rwanda's tentative line-up comprises 12 players, and only four are aged above 20.

The country's leading women players, WFM Joselyne Uwase, and three-time women national champion, Sandrine Uwase, are teens.

Teams will consist of six players, with a minimum of three female players and two junior players. Each team must, at least, include a junior player, two women and one girl under-20.

Each team is allowed six reserves, plus a team captain. Time control will be 15 minutes + 5 seconds increment per move, almost twice as fast as in the FIDE Online Nations Cup.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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