Wanyama wins East Africa Chess Championship Print
Thursday, 16 April 2009 12:21

East Africa Chess Championship defending champion Harold Wanyama made history over the Easter weekend by becoming the first player to win the highly prestigious event for the second time in a row after controversially overcoming Bob Bibasa in a highly contested 8th and final round.

Wanyama tied in joint first position with the tournament's surprise package junior champion Patrick Kawuma at 6.5 points out of 8 but edged out the later on Bucholz tie break.

On his way to victory, Wanyama downed Stephen Bwire, Ivan Meri, Fred Okiring, Atwooli Akello, Kamoga Rajab and Bob Bibasa. He drew with Kenya's Nathan Ateka and lost only once to Patrick Kawuma in a second round game that was billed as the biggest upset of the tournament.

On his part, second placed Kawuma beat Mohamed Omwony, Wanyama, Keneth Ouma, Walter Okas, Simon Gonza and drew with Kenya's Ben Magana while he only lost to Isaac Munanira.

Early pace setter, Bob Bibasa was unfortunate not to win the tournament as he needed only a draw against Wanyama in the last round to win but ended up losing controversially after curving out a clearly winning position with two pawns up in the endgame but run into time trouble, appealed to the arbiter that his opponent had played some moves without recording, so asked for more time. While he expected about five added minutes which would have enabled him to win the game, he was only granted one more minute which could not save him against a determined and composed Wanyama.

The other young and upcoming players who turned out to be revealations in the tournament were Rajab Kamoga and Simon Gonza who finished 5th and 6th respectively.

The best performing Kenyans in the Men's category were Nathan Ateka and Hinge Githingi who finished with 5.5 points each and ended in 7th and 9th positions respectively. Kenya's best player Ben Magana was this time pushed out of the top 10 by Ugandan youngsters who showed him no respect during the games.

On the whole however, the Kenyans didnt leave empty handed as one of their clubs Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Chess club won a trophy for the best club performance as it was the only club with the biggest number of players finishing in the top positions (these included Ateka, Githenge, Magana and the best in the Ladies category).

The event's winner Wanyama walked off with a trophy and was due to get Shs. 400,000 while the second Kawuma Shs. 200,000. However, because the two tied on points, they had to share out the two top prizes and thus each ended up with Shs. 300,000 each while the third got Shs. 100,000.


Name Points
1. Harold Wanyama 6.5
2. Patrick Kawuma 6.5
3. Bob Bibasa 6
4. Isaac Munanira 6
5. Rajab Kamoga 6
6. Gonza Simon 5.5
7. Nathan Ateka 5.5
8. Joseph Kaamu 5.5
9. Hinge Githingi 5.5
10. Michael Mawanda 5.5

The event attracted 57 participants in the Men's category and 12 ladies. The Ladies event was won by Kenya's Janet Rosana who tied with Uganda's Goretti Angolikin at 9 points but edged out the Ugandan on tie break.

The Ladies engaged each other in a 12 round robin competition. Rosana won 9 games and lost two against Ivy Claire Amoko and Rita Nansove while Angolikin won 8 drew two and lost one.

In third position was Amoko at 8.5 points and Joan Butindo at the same number of points. Butindo denied early pace setter Amoko outright victory by defeating her in the last round. A win for Makerere University's Amoko would have propelled her to the top ahead of the Kenyan but Butindo had her own scores to settle with her local rival.

The Uganda Chess Federation was highly pleased with the success of the event inspite of it being it held without corporate sponsorship this year but largely on the whims of the Federation's meagre resources.

Vianney Luggya
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