Chess: All Set for Super 14

The eagerly awaited National Open Chess Championship also known as the Super 14 pawns off on Sunday at Nob View Hotel, Ntinda with compelling matchups in the opening two rounds.

Chess competitions globally often pit weaker players against the big dogs in the opening rounds, but because this is the Super 14, a competition for gems; a competition designed to extract five players for the national team, fans will witness El Clasico kind of games for the duration of the tournament.

To get the thrill started, Fide Master Harold Wanyama will face off against FM Haruna Nsubuga on board three in the opening round. These two met as recent as last month in the final round of the Zabasajja Memorial Open Championship which the latter won.

The two were unable to separate themselves in that game as it ended in a draw, but two years ago in this same competition (Super 14), Wanyama outwitted his fellow FM. They however, both made the team that represented Uganda at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India in 2022.

Whatever happens in that game, there will be no respite for Wanyama as a date with East Africa’s top rated player, International Master Arthur Ssegwanyi awaits him in the second round.

In recent times, these two have hardly participated in the same tournaments, and for the few they have, they have managed to avoid meeting each other. But the last time they met which was in 2022 at the IM Norm Championship, the rated 2226 came out tops with victory in the 7th round.

The two are some of the most decorated players in Uganda, but unlike Nsubuga who won two tournaments including the Kireka Open in the previous calendar year, the duo didn’t take home any silverware.

The closest each came to a trophy was a second finish at the Uganda Open for Wanyama and the same position at the Zabasajja for Ssegwanyi. It will be interesting to see who of the two is lustier.

Before this duel, Ssegwanyi will face Wanyama’s student Mathew Mwase in the opening round on board two. The 16-year-old earned his spot at the Super 14 by winning the National Juniors.

Board five in that same round will see another top clash involving veteran FM Bob Bibasa and the first East African player to earn the IM title, Elijah Emojong. Emojong endured a a terrible year in 2023, but he remains one of the deadly weapons in the land.

Winner of the Uganda Open last year, and also the defending champion of this tournament, FM Patrick Kawuma will battle an emerging powerhouse in CM Emmanuel Egesa in the first round.

Kawuma, another decorated player in this cast took part in only two Grand Prix events last year, but he’s one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

CM Emmanuel Musasizi who’s here on a wild card basis will meet Richard Kato in the first round while Mark Nyola Wasswa and Rajab Kamoga will take on Abdul Shakur Wagodo and Norman Magino respectively.

Sana Kayyar Omprakash against Patricia Kawuma will headline the event in the Ladies Section. The two finished as 1st and 2nd respectively in the Grand Prix standings, and will meet on board one.

Legendary WFM Ivy Amoko, arguably East Africa’s greatest chess Lady will face Safinah Mugide in the opening round. Amoko took no part in the Grand Prix events, but she comes as a wild card holder.

Peninah Nakabo, the country’s third ranked and the wife to Ssegwanyi will face Sarah Nakalyowa on board five while Wanyama’s better half Sheba Valentine Naisanga will take on WFM Gloria Nansubuga on board four.

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