Thursday August 7 2014

Uganda aim for higher ratings despite early defeats

By Jacinta Odongo

After losing their first three games, Uganda’s men and women teams have now turned their focus to gaining higher rating points and to earn more chess titles.

Spearheaded by International Master Elijah Emojong (2334), the national men’s team are keen to better their style of playing as they continue to battle in the remaining seven rounds at the ongoing 41st World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.
“In chess you cannot predict anything,” said Emojong.

“More than 177 countries are taking part yet only one strong team is expected to win the overall medal. But we are looking forward to play a good game, gain more points and earn more chess master titles.”

It is for the first time that the men’s team, also including Candidate Master Patrick Kawuma, Fide Master Harold Wanyama, Arthur Ssegwanyi and Olympiad debutant Mathias Ssonko, a reserve player, has been placed in the Group C category which comprises of much stronger countries like Ireland, Zimababwe among others.

Uganda earlier suffered three serious defeats, with both the teams, open and women, losing to Ireland and South Africa 0.5-3.5 and 1-3 apiece in the fourth games played on Tuesday.

Only Candidate Master (CM) Patrick Kawuma (2261) salvaged a creditable draw against Ireland’s International Master (IM) Collins Sam (2495) while the rest went down at the hands of the South Africans.

The men’s squad was crushed 0-4 by USA and 1-3 by Fraoue Isles in the first and third round but bounced back with 3-1 win against US Virgin Isles 3-1 in the second round.

Looking ahead
In the ladies category, Uganda lost to South Africa 3-1 in the fourth game despite their dramatic victory over Palestine in their previous game in the penultimate third round.

South Africa comfortably beat Uganda on the first board on the basis of Woman International Master (WIM) Denise Fricks incredible attacking win over unrated Gorretti Angolikin.

Olympiad debutante Christine Namaganda (1536) lost to Solomon Anzel (1840) on board two while Uganda’s Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Ivy Amoko, who is the highest rated Ugandan female player with 1803 points, lost to WIM Tepang Tlale (1798) on the third board.

WCM Phiona Mutesi (1632), however wrapped it up with a win over WCM Fisher Michelle (1651). In earlier rounds the ladies team lost 0-4 to Croatia and 1-3 to Malaysia.

“We still have a reason to look ahead optimistically. We are going to play more positively, unlike the passive manner in which we succumbed to our opponents in the previous games,” said Grace Kigeni.

Today is a rest day for all the teams but although by press time FIDE had not paired up the teams to play in the sixth round due tomorrow .