Rwanda Open 2020 lived up to expectations – Ferwade

Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, seen here playing his final round on Monday, was the best young player of the tournament. / Craish Bahizi.

The 2020 edition of the annual Rwanda Open chess tournament, which ended late Monday at Classic Hotel in Kigali, lived up to expectations, an official has told Times Sport.

The tournament, billed as the biggest chess event in the country, attracted a total of 49 players from hosts Rwanda, Burundi, Scotland, Afghanistan, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.


Kevin Ganza, president of the Rwanda chess federation (Ferwade), said: “This year’s Rwanda Open absolutely met our expectations in many ways, but, particularly how our young players performed.”


We hosted players from eight foreign chess federations, and everyone was impressed by the showing of our youngsters.”


At the end of the six-round competition, Candidate Master (CM) Godfrey Kabera and 20-year-old Saveur Bikorimana emerged as the best local players after tying at 4.5 points.

Ganza added: “Indeed, the performance of Saveur Bikorimana was remarkable, being one of the best local players, and sixth overall in ranking, while having only started to play chess in 2017.”

Bikorimana is ‘a product’ of one of the federation’s chess in school programme, the Chess Master for Africa, which started in 2017 at Groupe Scolaire Kimisange, a secondary school in Kicukiro District. The school’s chess team won gold medals and a trophy after outwitting other teams at the 2019 inter-schools chess tournament.

By and large, the Ugandan delegation proved too strong. The overall winner was Uganda’s International Master (IM) Arthur Ssegwanyi who won all his six rounds.

However, the tournament’s best junior was a Rwandan, 16-year-old Ben Patrick Cyubahiro.

Ladies’ growth

Happiness Mutete, 13, a senior two student of APE Rugunga in Kigali, was the best lady.

According to Ganza, Rwanda Open 2020 also left a mark as far the women’s chess is concerned.

He said: “This tournament also left us in a more confident position with regard to ladies’ progress in the game. We expect to have a much stronger ladies team for the upcoming Chess Olympiad.”

Mutete especially made her intentions clear as she battled fearlessly against senior and more experienced players during the tournament.

The youngster hopes to compete next month in qualifiers for the 44th Chess Olympiad which will be held in the Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk from August 5 to 18.

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