Team Rwanda off to Georgia for Chess Olympiad

Ten players, including four teenagers, on Sunday night left Kigali for the Chess Olympiad 2018 in Batumi, the second-largest city of Georgia.

They will miss round one of games which start Monday - and end on October 7 - but there is hope they could perform well, according to officials travelling with the team.

"The team has been training since March as selection was completed early. I believe we have a strong team and we expect to gain some rating points and also win some titles," said Kevin Ganza, the chess federation president.

The final Chess Olympiad qualifiers for selecting Rwanda’s teams – open and women – for this year’s 43rd Chess Olympiad, was played over two consecutive weekends in March.

"It is a very good team in terms of composition; players are good, but also for its future perspective because the team of 10 players includes four under 17 players."

Teenagers on the team are; Ian Murara Urwintwari, 16, his sister Layola Murara Umuhoza, 15, Joselyne Uwase, 15, and Christelle Uwamahoro, 14.

Unfortunately, the reigning women national champion, Sandrine Uwase, 15, has not made it to the team as she was not able to get a passport on time. She was replaced by a senior player, Aline Niyonsaba, to complete the squad.

In the open team, the five players are; Dr Joseph Nzabanita, Candidate Master (CM) Maxence Murara, Fidele Mutabazi, Urwintwari and Alain Niyibizi.

The women team comprises Uwase, Niyonsaba, Umuhoza, Odile Kayitesi and Uwamahoro.

At the Chess Olympiad, countries field four players during a match. The fifth is a reserve.

Organized by the world chess federation (FIDE), the Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament where teams from all over the world compete.

The world’s biggest chess tournament is comprised of open and women’s tournaments, as well as other events designed to promote the game of chess.