The Zone 4.2 U-16 Team Chess Championships concluded on Saturday at Oshwal Academy Mombasa, with Uganda finishing second last in the rank table
Uganda opened the event with a 2-2 draw against Tanzania, and despite lacking experience at this level, expectations for decent displays and a respectable position at the end of the event were high.
Uganda, however, managed only one win [against Kenya Four] and a couple of draws, while suffering embarrassing defeats. The team lost seven rounds and all those defeats came with Uganda losing all boards.
“The kids lacked experience and exposure and also lack of competition at this level affected them because this was their first international tournament,” said John Vianney Mukalazi, Director at Chess Life Academy.
“We need to take part in more junior events to better our performances. You find that in the second round, they started playing well. While they were defeated on many occasions, they put up a very hard fight to get results.
“I believe with proper training and continued competition, we shall get a very good brand out of them. we need to consistently participate in these junior tournaments.
“We also need co-operation from schools. They should be ready to release kids when they are called upon for training and other local tournaments and parents should continue supporting their kids,” advised Mukalazi.
Uganda took a team of five players that comprised of three girls Pauline Biyinzika, Alicia Bwengye and Denise Veronica Butungi all from Trinity College Nabbingo and two boys Marvin Atuhaire Bagonza (Namilyango College) and Edgar Ampaire (Kibuuka Mixed Primary School).
Bagonza and Biyinzika each got three points while team captain Butungi managed just one point and Bwengye and Ampaire left Mombasa with no point.
While many believe the experience in Mombasa will discourage the kids and affect their confidence, Mukalazi refuses to concur with that school of thought.
“It is actually the other way round. These kids feel inspired more than ever before and believe they are celebrities now. You see we misread the letter. The organizers wanted three boys and two girls but we sent the opposite. These girls played against boys but when you analyze their games, they played mature and brilliant chess and only lost on technicalities like time.”