Ugandan contingent dominates Kenya's Eldoret Chess Tourney!


Led by national champion, Bob Bibasa and fellow Olympians Grace Nsubuga, Shadrack Kantinti, Kenneth Kakooza, Stephen Kawuma, and Willy Zabasajja, the Ugandan Chess Federation sent a total of 18 players to compete in the Eldoret International Chess Open sponsored by the Kenya Power and lighting Company. Held at the Sirikwa Hotel, the Ugandan onslaught was ultimately led by the country's young phenom, Stephen Kawuma, a 20-year old student at Makerere University. Kawuma went undefeated in the nine-round format with 6-2. In fact, the Ugandans took seven out of the top 10 positions of the tournament in the following order and point total: Bob Bibasa (2nd with 6 pts.), Willy Zabasajja (4th with 5 pts.), Kenneth Kakooza (5th with 5 pts.), Ignatius Wanderema (6th with 5 pts.), Steve Mutumba (8th with 5 pts.) and blitz champion, Shadrack Kantinti (9th with 4 points). 

The top Kenyan player was
Matthew Kangeni who beat Bibasa in the opening round, and by doing so, prevented a 1-2-3 Ugandan sweep.  Grace Nsubuga, the former Ugandan champion, placed 12th. Perhaps his performance was affected by the denial of his U.S. visa request to compete in two tournaments. Tournament coordinator, Andolo Ambasi thanked the sponsors, extended congratulatory remarks to the Ugandan players and stated that the result had "given the Kenyan players food for thought." Uganda Chess Federation President Dan Nsibambi was proud of the result and stated with pride, "We are a power in the region, our performance is still as good as ever. We are pleased to continue dominating the sport in the region."

Posted by The Chess Drum: 10 June 2001