Uganda Chess Federation has made giant strides in its efforts to increase on the number of internationally rated players in the country. According to FIDE’s March 2014 rating list, three more Ugandan ladies Joyce Kabengano, Victoria Nakirwadde and Christine Namaganda have acquired international ratings thereby bringing the total number of rated ladies to 6.
Kabengano got a first rating of 1628, Namaganda 1493 and Nakirwadde 1474. The three join WCM Ivy Amoko who was this month the Ugandan with the biggest overall rating points gain of 42 points to get to 1795 (highest rated lady as well), Grace Kigeni 1655 (gained 5.4 points) and WCM Phiona Mutesi 1648 (who lost 27 points following a dismal performance in recent events).
The new ratings and increase in rating points by the players is a result of increased activity especially FIDE rated events like the recent Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship and Kawuma Open. Amoko has in particular benefitted from the Federation’s policy of encouraging ladies to play alongside men like was the case in the Kawuma Open where she beat a higher rated Haruna Nsubuga (rated 2152 at the time and snatched some good points from him).
Among the male players, Simon Gonza is the new addition to the list of rated players having attained a high first rating of 2139. Quite a number of male players also benefitted from an increase in rating points led by Arthur Ssegwanyi who gained 30 points to get to 2281.
Youngster Benjamin Mukumbya was the other big beneficiary gaining 23 points from only participating in the Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship to get to 1940. Ssonko Mathias Allan gained 19.5 points to get to 2026; IM Elijah Emojong gained 13.8 points to rise to 2350 as CM Bob Bibasa gained 5.4 points to get to 2202.
In the process of gaining rating points, a few players who performed bellow par were unfortunate to lose some rating points. These include Fred Washaba who lost 27 points to get to a rating of 1969, ex Olympian Shadrack Kantinti lost 16 points to get to 2095 and FM Harold Wanyama lost 2 points to get to 2217. Aaron Kanaabi (1990), FM Stephen Kisuze (2101) and Raphael Buti (2121) also lost some rating points.
Given the number of rated events lined up for 2014, it is anticipated that the number of rated players will double by 2015.