When UCF named 11-year-old Maria Nakanyike as co-captain for the team competing at the African Schools Individual Chess Championships in Harare, Zimbabwe, not only were they looking at her age and headship qualities, but also her ability to the lead and motivate the team on a chess board.
The Crestals’ board five player is doing just that. Nakanyike, alongside five other youngsters missed the first two rounds due to flight issues, but that has not hindered her from extending her superiority across the continent.
Playing under the section of U11, Nakanyike who boasts of 3.5 points collected from seven games in the National Chess League dispatched Namibian Lure Horn in the fifth round to register her third successive victory at the championships.
The 11-year-old had prior the round ensured her 7-day stay in Zimbabwe started in style after she whipped natives Courtney Mugomba and Nkomo Lzwazilwenkosi in the third and fourth rounds respectively.
Her latest victory means she remains the only player in the category with a 100% record given Arona Moshoboro, the current leader with 4.5 points drew against Banda Natalie Marlo in the third round.
Nakanyike’s performance thus far is one that has surprised very few. She is regarded as one of the strongest youngsters back home. Matter of fact, many believe only Gloria Nansubuga, a 16-year-old who beat the strongest lady in East Africa WFM Ivy Clare Amoko in 2015 at the Rwabushenyi Memorial Open betters her.
She meets Kenyan Shah Devashri in the sixth round on Friday as she looks to continue with her spectacular display.
Three other kids bossed their boards on Wednesday. Patrick Elijah Muwanguzi who received a bye in the second round opened his account yesterday with victory over Daniel Kondowe from Malawi in the fourth round before going on to outsmart Zimbabwean Takudzwa Muwodzeri in the subsequent round.
On the winning ends were also Naomi Peace Nabuyondo [U11] and Victor Kanyike . The former won the fifth round, while the latter saw victories in both the fourth and fifth round- his first wins at the tourney.
Paul Kevin Wasswa Mwanje drew against Bistoe Angelo from Seychelles, and the two youngest players in the team Suubi Kiwanuka Lwanga and Kitty Joyce Mary Ndagizimana lost both their games.
The boys’ captain Mark Nyola Wasswa [U17] also lost both his games yesterday, so did Edwin Pido.
Hamssadhwane Sivakumar lost round four, however, got a bye in the fifth round.
It is rest day for the youngsters. Action returns Friday, with Nyola versing Ganda Takunda while Wasswa will play Pilay Harish. Kanyike and Pido will take on Cashel Chabvamuperu and Mikel Chitakaitira respectively.
Muwanguzi and Kiwanuka meet Lwiindi Komana and Sibanda Qhayiso on their respective boards.
In the girls’ section, Nabuyondo takes on Zambia’s Victoria Mutukwa, while Hamssadhwane and Ndagizimana will battle Nakai Mahachi and Shah Janki Nipul respectively