With just 3 more rounds of action, the top chess players in the country are having a stiff battle for the available 4 slots as the final phase of the Olympiad Qualifiers sets in.

Last weekend at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Rubaga witnessed the clock to the 8th round of action and 3 more rounds are due to be played in the round robin of 12 players that ends next weekend.

Olympian Patrick Kawuma is leading with only 5.5 points out of a possible 8, closely followed by FM Harold Wanyama, Haruna Nsubuga and Raphael Buti at 5 points each.

Such is the magnitude of the competition that the event leader has already lost 2.5 points at this stage of the competition with three rounds to go.

Perennial contender, Arthur Ssegwanyi who has recently won a couple of major events in Uganda and Kenya is struggling and on 4.5 points out of 8.

At least every player has lost a game. Buti has so far excelled to garner 5 points with a game in hand as he still has a date against Mathias Ssonko to be played on Wednesday this week prior to the ninth round due (held on Saturday 10 May 2014).

Fide Master (FM) Wanyama had to grit his teeth to get to 5 out of 8 after a slow start in which he had to fight back from two early losses.

The other player who has so far excelled is the usually inconsistent Haruna Nsubuga with 5 points too. Micheal Mawanda has also been impressive and is now well on course to his first rating as the event is FIDE rated.

Only 4 players out of the above will join FM Elijah Emojong on the National team to represent Uganda at the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway in August 2014.

 Standings after 8 rounds:

 1. Patrick Kawuma      5.5 points

2. Harold Wanyama      5 points

3. Haruna Nsubuga      5 points

4. Raphael Buti          5 points

5. Arthur Ssegwanyi    5 points

6. Micheal Mawanda     4.5 points

7. Shadrack Kantinti   4 points

8. Mathias Ssonko      3.5 points

9. Farouk Fauza        3.5 points

10.Kenneth Kakooza     3 points

11. Grace Nsubuga      2 points

12. Frobisha Katula    2 points

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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