Under-18 chess champs to start Saturday

Sandrine Uwase, 16, is regarded as one of the pre-tournament favourites for the U18 category title. File.

Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) has announced that the 2018 National Youth Chess Championship, which features under 18 year olds in various categories is scheduled for December 8-9 at IPRC-Kigali.

Last year, the two-day event saw 63 youngsters compete in three categories; U-12, U-15, and U-18, and was held at Kagarama Secondary School in Kicukiro District.

At the time, Ferwade president Kevin Ganza said the event was a success given the growing number of participants.

REAL ALSO2017 youth chess championship a success.

Tough games

The under 18 category in this year’s contest is expected to be tougher than ever before considering the strength of youngsters likely to take part in the contest.

One of them is Joselyne Uwase who was 14 during last year’s edition and dominated the U-15 category by winning all her games. She is now 15 and set to battle in the U-18 category which was last year dominated by 17-year old Samuel Grazzy Rusa.

Rusa will also be looking to defend his title.

At the 43rd Chess Olympiad 2018 held in Batami, Georgia, the main team contest organised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), young Olympiad debutante Uwase made history when she earned the Woman FIDE master (WFM) title.

She collected seven points – from seven wins – in nine games.

The 2017 female National Chess Champion, Sandrine Uwase, will be looking to test her opponents despite having not played competitive chess for some time. 

The 16-year old Uwase last played competitive chess during the Chess Olympiad qualifiers in March.

Other youngsters expected to give opponents a hard time in this section include Ben Patrick Cyubahiro, 16, and another Olympiad debutante, Christelle Uwamahoro, 14, who also earned the Woman Candidate Master (WCM) in Georgia.

READ ALSORwanda leaves Chess Olympiad 2018 two titles rich, optimistic over future

Ian Murara Urwintwari, 15, and his sister, Layola Umuhoza, 14, who both were part of Team Rwanda at the 43rd Chess Olympiad 2018 could also be a force to reckon with if they compete.

The duo did not take part in last year’s event.