In an enclosed contest arbitrated by Ezekiel Matsiko, Fide Master Harold Wanyama came out top at the Ultimate Rapids Challenge played on Sunday.
The one day tourney, contested for by the top six players in the East African region viz., International Master Arthur Ssegwanyi, IM Elijah Emojong, Walter Okas, Fide Master Patrick Kawuma, FM Wanyama and FM Haruna Nsubuga was witnessed by a fortunate few, and the fourth seed in the region clinched the first place with 7.5 points.
Wanyama had a mixed start, losing two of his first four rounds, but after enduring his second loss which came against Ssegwanyi in the fourth round, the rated 2257 went on a rampage, winning five games in a row. Only Kawuma survived the wrath of the reigning USPA Chess Player of the Year.
Kawuma and Wanyama were to face off in the last round, but with the top two spots out of reach for the former, and with a draw cementing the third spot for him, the two decided to sit out the round and instead agreed to share spoils.
This meant Wanyama missed the opportunity to settle the score having suffered defeat against Kawuma in the opening round.
Hot on the heels was Okas. The former National Junior champion who took the honors of hosting the event lost only twice as he secured the second place for himself. He registered 6 wins plus two draws to end the event with 7 points.
Okas admitted that he was surprised by the way he performed. Considering his poor league form that has seen him drop fat elos, he did not expect to put up a brilliant show against the elite players or finish in one of the top positions.
The Migingo star lost only to the eventual winner and the two draws came against Ssegwanyi and Kawuma.
To complete the podium positions was Kawuma. The FM proved a draw master, sharing spoils on five occasions. Kawuma drew with all players including Emojong who had a tourney to forget. The rated 2302 won three games and lost twice against Okas and Nsubuga. He collected 5.5points to finish 3rd.
Ssegwanyi took the fourth position. Seeded number one in East Africa, the IM managed only four wins and suffered as many defeats. He lost to all except to his fellow IM who failed to secure a single win. The Olympian drew twice and posted five points to settle for a fourth finish.
On fifth was Nsubuga with 4points. Nsubuga feasted on both IMs and Kawuma to secure three wins. He went unbeaten against Emojong and Kawuma as his two draws came against the duo in the sixth and fourth round respectively.
While Okas surprised himself with his fine displays, Emojong shocked everyone with his horrible performance. Emojong had been tipped by many to boss the challenge, but things didn’t go quite as many had predicted. The IM failed to secure at least one win much to disbelief of majority.
Everyone had a share of the IM. The rated 2358 and seeded No.2 in the region lost eight games and managed only two draws that came against Kawuma and Nsubuga and he ended the event with one point.
It was a tournament to forget for the second seed, but he promised to revenge when the event returns two weeks from now. He attributed his awful performance to lack of training.
Majority of chess followers were left wondering why the players chose to play Rapids instead of the Classical as initially indicated. Well, that’s because the players are still lobbying for sponsorship. Efforts to secure sponsorship for the Ultimate Death Match are yet to yield fruits therefore until funding is secured, the Death Match shall wait.
However, a Rapids tourney shall happen every after two weeks, and the next is slated for September 10th at Makerere University Business School.