Day two of the ongoing Kenya Open Chess Championship ended with three Ugandans still on the running for the Championship as the three all boast of a perfect start to the event.
The three include International Master Arthur Ssegwanyi, Fide Master Haruna Nsubuga and FM Patrick Kawuma. The three are among only the twelve players at the event who have won all their opening four rounds in the Open category.
They have undoubtedly been cruising, but that was against lowly rated players. The real business starts on Saturday with the fifth round where they’ll be faced with some of the best at the event. Ssegwanyi and Kawuma have been pitted against Grandmasters in the fifth round. The IM on board two will take on GM Safarli Eltaji from Azerbaijan while Kawuma has been handed GM Pavel Ponkratov from Russia. Both will be white against their opponents.
Nsubuga will be on board five against IM Samat Aditya from India. Unlike his teammates, Nsubuga who is set to become the second Ugandan to play at a Chess World Cup will be black.
To play against a GM is one scary, but exciting opportunity! FM Harold Wanyama had been looking forward to putting his wits against Grandmasters at this event, but with his disappointing results in the opening four rounds, the national team coach may not get that opportunity.
In these advanced rounds, the best are pitted against the best, and you can only be grouped as the ‘best’ by winning.
Wanyama has to his name only two and half points following his third round loss and a draw in the second round which leaves him playing against lowly rated players.
IM Elijah Emojong is on the same boat as Wanyama although the former is progressing steadily. Emojong lost his second round to Felix Boera, but he won both his games yesterday which had him climb a ladder on three points.
His next opponent is Mugo Wangombe from Kenya. The two will face-off on board 14.
In the Ladies section, Peninah Nakabo and Woman Candidate Master Shakira Ampaire are still flying the Ugandan flag up high. The two remain the only Ugandans with maximum points, but winning means facing the toughest.
Like their male counterparts, the duo will be up against Grandmasters. Nakabo is up against WGM Josefine Heinemann from Germany while Ampaire has WGM
Wafa Shrook from Egypt to contend with in board one and two respectively.
On board ten, it will be an all Ugandan affair as Takali Milly will face Esther Sandra Nalunga.
The other Ugandan playing on the first ten boards in the Open category is Mike Akabo. He will take on Mathew Kamau Kanegeni from on board nine.