Uganda's Kawuma  retains Uhuru Chess Crown!


20-year old Steven Kawuma has been one of the brightest young stars on the Ugandan chess scene for the last few years.  A Mechanical Engineering student at the renown Makerere University, he started his foray in international chess circles in 1999 when he placed a respectable 7th among 14 players in the All-African Junior Championship. Also participating in that tournament were IM Amon Simutowe of Zambia (the eventual winner) and FM Kenny Solomon of South Africa. In the year 2000, he would get a chance to represent Uganda at the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey and played well enough to contend for a board prize which he missed by the narrowest of margins. In the 2000 African Juniors, he improved to 6th place.

Kawama's progress has been steady and has threatened to unseat the old guard of Ugandan chess. During Uganda's independence celebration (6th-9th October), he emerged as the champion of the
Uhuru National Rapid Championship by scoring an impressive 10-2 score (9 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws). The tournament attracted 70 of Uganda's best players and was closely contested with Kawuma challenging for the lead most of the way. A 9th round loss to Bob Bibasa was the only blemish, but was enough to hold off Shadrack Kantinti who finished close behind with 9. Bibasa finished with 8 points. This prestigious event organized by the Ugandan Chess Federation and was sponsored by Uganda Commercial Bank Limited.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 16 October 2001