(Press release courtesy of Uganda Chess Federation)
National Chess Champion, Arthur Ssegwanyi has made a clear statement of intent by beating early pace setter, Olympian Harold Wanyama in the eighth round of the Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship to get to the top of the standings with 7 points out of a possible 8. There is only one round left.
Ssegwanyi, who lost in the first round to a less fancied youngster Richard Tugume has recovered to win the subsequent seven games in a row. Against Wanyama, the two players engaged each other in a tactical Scotch game in which Ssegwanyi got an upper hand in the endgame.
Also on 7 points is Olympian Bob Bibasa who beat Aaron Kanaabi and is now poised to meet Ssegwanyi in a potential title decider in the last round to be played on the morning of Wednesday, 14th December 2011.
Despite the loss, Wanyama still trails the two leaders in clear third position with 6.5 points. There is a high likelihood that there will be a tie for first position. In the event that happens, the players that tie will be subjected to a Blitz play-off of two games to determine the outright winner who will walk away with the top prize of Ugandan Shillings 700,000/- (about USD 280/-).
Ugandan players have dominated the top positions with Kenya’s best performer Matthew Kanegeni among the top five on 6 points after he beat Joseph Kaamu in the eighth round. He was having a good run until he lost to Bibasa in the seventh round earlier this morning.
Also on 6 points are Olympian Kenneth Kakooza who beat Daniel Baagadde and Mathias Ssonko who beat Farouk Fauza.
Kenya’s Githinji Hinga was at the time of filing this report engaged in a tense endgame battle with National Junior Champion, Haruna Nsubuga with the Kenyan having a pawn advantage in a rook ending. A win for Hinga would propel him to 6 points as well.
In the ladies category, defending champion 15 year-old Phiona Mutesi is having a field day after she beat Cathy Kenyange to get to 7 points out of a possible 8. Following closely is Olympian Ivy Amoko who drew with fellow Olympian Grace Kigeni to get to 6.5 points. Kigeni, Christine Namaganda and Rita Nsubuga are on 5.5 points each.
There will be a closing ceremony at which the winners will be awarded with trophies and cash prizes courtesy of sponsors Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday at 4.30 pm.