CHESS–Ugandan chess players will be involved in a National Chess Championship this month for the first time in four years.
The championship, slated October 19-22 at Hotel Africana in Kampala, was last held in 2013, with officials blaming lack of funds for putting the prestigious game of wits in a coma.
But with the Garry Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa coming on board as sponsors, the championship is off the life support not headed for the mortician’s garney but out to feel the fresh breeze again.
The championship has been held just twice in recent times, and International Master Elijah Emojong won the very last edition.
IM Arthur Ssegwanyi won the other in 2011 ahead of the then National Junior champion FM Haruna Nsubuga on a tie-break.
While it’s not held regularly, the national championship is actually used to select a couple of players for the national team.
Winning the event automatically earns one a slot in the national team in both the Open and ladies category.
IM Arthur Ssegwanyi earned his maiden appearance in the national team in 2011 following his triumph at the championship.
It is supposed to be that way but because it’s held occasionally, UCF has been using the Olympiad qualifiers to determine who takes the number one slot in the team like the most recent in 2016 and 2014 when Ssegwanyi and Kawuma topped the qualifiers, respectively.
This usually happens in the Olympiad years. Because the nationals were last held in 2013, Emojong will go into this one as the defending champion.