Mathew Mwase Wins National Junior Chess Tourney

Mathew Mwase stormed to his first ever individual championship after his enviable display at the National Junior Chess Championships that concluded on Sunday at Nob View Hotel in Ntinda.

The 17-year-old bares the tag of one of the prodigies in Ugandan chess, but unlike some of his peers, he had never won an individual honour. That changed on Sunday as he charged to the trophy unbeaten.

Like players on his strength level, Mwase was faced with players ‘weaker’ than him in the first four rounds, and he found little resistance in overpowering them.

His first test arrived in the fifth round when he met Ethan Kigundu. Both players had won their opening four games, but Kigundu’s winning run had to come to an end as Mwase prevailed.

Mwase went ahead and beat Shafik Muhebwa in the next round. This set up a meet between himself and Edwin Pido – one of the pre tournament favourites- in the penultimate round.

Up until Sunday, Mwase’s only success was winning a team gold at the Zonals that were held in Nairobi.

In the penultimate round, he was facing a player who has represented Uganda in numerous continental events, and who won gold at the Africa Schools Individual Chess Championships in 2021.

This was a final before the final, but, Mwase outwitted his rival. With Benjamin Netanyahu Ajiri- who lost the fifth round to Arthur Mwase, the younger sibling of the Mwases- beating Siima Zion Kazoora in the seventh round, those present at Nob View on Sunday were treated to a perfect “final’ as board one of the eighth round pitted Mwase against Ajiri.

Mwase was unstoppable throughout the tournament, but Ajiri was the defending champion. In fact, he had won this Championship two times in a row.

That run however, was brought to a halt when Mwase edged the tie, ultimately winning the championship with a perfect 8/8.

The defending champion who was also ranked No.1 at this tournament had to settle for the 9th position. Mwase’s young brother came second while Pido completed the top three.

Another much anticipated battle in the final round was witnessed in the the girls section.

After both winning their respective penultimate rounds, Sana Omprakash Sayyar who entered the competition as the defending champion, and Olympian Patricia Kawuma met in the eighth round.

These two faced off in the fifth round at the Kireka Open. Omprakash who eventually won the Open came out tops. Given Kawuma had already registered a loss at this tourney and given the outcome of their previous meet , the confidence levels were high for Omprakash, but Kawuma took the day.

She won the trophy with 7 points. Omprakash ended up finishing third as Kevin Mary Ndagire came second.



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