Former national team chess player Andrew Naimanye has been crowned Fide Master, almost 10 years after retiring from the sport.
The Ugandan attained the award following an application to the world chess governing body, Fide, from Uganda Chess Federation (UCF).
“I am very happy to receive this award. I hope it will inspire upcoming chess players to continue playing hard so that they can win similar awards,” Naimanye told the media at Lugogo yesterday. The accolade is given to players who attain 2300 points or those that stand out in different countries.
Yet, Naimanye had accumulated 2360 points by the time he retired in 2002. He is the only player in East Africa to hit the 2360 points mark.
Naimanye is the fourth FM in Uganda. Others are teenage sensation Elijah Emojong and the UK- based brothers Stephen Kawuma and Moses Kawuma. But Naimanye still ranks higher than all the other three Fide Masters. “This is a remarkable award for the federation because our neighbouring countries have never produced any player with such points,” said UCF president Vianney Luggya.
Naimanye was outstanding at the 1992 World Chess Olympiad in Manila, Philippines. He also did well at the Africa Individual Chess Championship, East African Championship and other FIDE rating tournaments.
In a related development, two previously unrated youngsters, Farouk Fauza (2172)and Mathias Ssonko (2006), have also acquired international ratings following splendid displays in the National Championship, Rwabushenyi Memorial and the East Africa Championship last year.
Meanwhile, Naimanye has donated Shs1m to UCF to assist in the organisation of the Zabasajja Memorial Rapid Chess Championship due April 14 and 15 at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Rubaga. The event is organised in memory of Willy Zabasajja, Uganda’s greatest ever chess player. He died in 2006.