Rwanda leaves Chess Olympiad 2018 two titles rich, optimistic over future

By the end of the 43rd Chess Olympiad 2018 on Friday the World Chess Federation (FIDE) confirmed two titles on two Rwandan teenage girls, which makes Kevin Ganza, the Rwanda chess federation president, optimistic about the future of the game in the country.

The latest Chess Olympiad, the main team contest organized by FIDE, was held for two weeks in Batumi, Georgia.

Ganza said: “The team goes back home with one WFM title and one WCM for two young players in the women team. Congratulations to them.”

Youngster Joselyne Uwase, 15, on Thursday afternoon made history when FIDE confirmed her Woman FIDE master (WFM) title. Earlier, on Monday, FIDE had confirmed the Woman Candidate Master (WCM) title to the young Olympiad debutante from Gikondo, a Kigali suburb, after the seventh round.

On the final day, Rwanda’s Women and Open teams battled Kuwait and Bermuda, respectively.

During round 11 another Olympiad debutante, Christelle Uwamahoro, 14, a reserve player, won her match to make four wins in six games, and earned the WCM title.

Ganza told Times Sport that “our players played good games, and personally, I am proud of them.”

He admitted they did not collect as many points as they would have wished, but at least, “we learnt our weaknesses and we are planning to make it right.”

At the end of the principal team contest organized by FIDE, Rwanda’s women team had 15.5 points and the Open team 11.5 points.

“In most of our games, although many ended in losses, our players had been leading the battle. We are confident about our performance in the near future,” Ganza said.

It is the teens – especially on the Women team – who impressed most. Uwase collected seven points – all straight wins – in her nine games.

CM Maxence Murara collected three points, in eight games, the highest individual score for the Open team.

The final ranking (crosstable) after 11 rounds puts Rwanda’s women at 128th, globally, while the Open team is 181st.

Overall, China won the Chess Olympiad 2018 both in Open and Women categories.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw 

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