Uganda’s Olympiad bound Harold Wanyama is the new East Africa Chess Champion after putting up an unbeaten display to emerge clear first with 7 points out of 8 in the Fountain Publishers sponsored event held from Friday 21st to Monday 24th March, 2008 at Lugogo Indoor Stadium in Kampala.
On his way to victory, Wanyama won six games and drew two beating defending champion Hassan Mulambe, Mwanga George, Agaba Davis, Baligeya Emma, drew with fellow Olympian Bob Bibasa and Kenya’s Ben Nguku.
The Men’s category attracted 86 participants including over 10 Kenyans and one Sudanese. The Ladies category was won by Violet Atuhura who tied with Joan Butindo at 6.5 points but edged out the later on Bucholz tie break. There were 16 lady partcipants.
This is Wanyama’s first major tournament win although the player has been a highly consistent contender for silverware at the highest level in Uganda. He was supposed to be part of Uganda’s team to the last World Chess Olympiad held in Turin, Italy but missed out at the last minute due to insufficient funding. He again made the grade as one of the five players on Uganda’s team to this years Olympiad due in Dresden, Germany, later this year. The victory was therefore a major confindence boost ahead of his debut appearance at the upcoming World’s biggest show piece.
Handing over prizes to the winners at the end of the tournament, Mr. Abel Barigye of Fountain Publishers congratulated the winners and pledged Fountain Publishers’ commitment to availing more support to the game of chess in the country.
“We want to make chess our game especially because it is a brain game that is closely linked to the products we deal in,” Mr. Barigye said. Fountain Publishers are the leading producers of books in the East African region.
The Uganda Chess Federation is greatful to Fountain Publishers for having enabled the East African Chess fraternity to have such a wonderful and memorable event.
Perenial contender Bob Bibasa finished in second position after tying with Kenya’s best player in the tournament Ben Nguku and Uganda’s ex Olympian Emma Mwaka at 6.5 points. Nguku and Mwaka finished in third and fourth positions respectively.
Kenya’s other outstanding performer Nathan Ateka finished in 15th position while their highest rated player, Ben Magana was surprisingly relegated to 25th position with 4.5 points. Another surprise performace was that of Kenya’s veteran former Olympian John Mukabi who finished in 46th position with 3.5 points. The results reflect Uganda’s continued dominance over neighbours and archrivals Kenya, a trend that has raged on for the last three years. At last year’s event Magana finished in second position behind Uganda’s Mulambe. Kenya’s other participants included Hinga Githinji, Dan Lubanga and Caleb Nyagwaya among others. Sudan’s representative was Pan Andy who finished with 2 points.
Several upcoming Ugandan youngsters like Emma Otella, Fred Okiring, Joel Wegoye and Emmanuel Baligeya put up splendid displays and displaced pre tournament favourites from the top 10 positions. Uganda’s other Olympiad bound players Grace Nsubuga and national champion Shadrack Kantinti finished in 5th and 17th positions respectively. Considering Kantinti’s consistency over the years, this performamce reflects the rising levels of local competition.
Another youngster Brian Rumanzi won the prize for the most brilliant game of the tournament after he downed seven time Olympiad Kantinti in only 28 moves of a closed Sicillian. Rumanzi twice sacked a Rook for a pawn in the game but Kantinti could not touch the Rook as the resultant threats on his King were so enormous.
The winner Wanyama walked off with Shs. 500,000/=, the second Shs. 200,000/-, third shs. 100,000/- and fourth shs. 50,000/-. The Ladies winner bagged Shs. 150,000/-, second shs. 100,000/- and third shs. 50,000/-.
The top ten finishers in the Men’s Category were as follows:
1. Wanyama Harold 7 points
2. Bibasa Bob 6.5 points
3. Nguku Ben (Kenya) 6.5 points
4. Mwaka Emma 6.5 points
5. Grace Nsubuga 6.5 points
6. Otella Emma 6 points
7. Okiring Fred 6 points
8. Wegoye Joel 6 points
9. Nkonge Moses 6 points
10. Baligeya Emma 6 points
Ladies top 4
1. Violet Atuhura 6.5 points
2. Butindo Joan 6.5 points
3. Nansove Rita 5.5 points
4. Namaganda Christine 5.5 points
UGANDA CHESS FEDERATION