Friday, 30 May 2014

10-year-old Layola makes Olympiad chess team

Ten-year old Murara Umuhoza Layola defied odds to earn a slot on the national team which will represent Rwanda at the 41stWorld Chess Olympiad slated for August 1-15 in Tromso, Norway. Layola won the ladies’ chess tournament to book a place as Rwanda’s Board 1 member at the Olympiad later this year.

She finished top after a head to head contest with four other players to score 4.5 points out of 5. Other members of the women team include Christella Rugabira (4 points), Marie Faustine Shimwa and Monique Uwinkesha (3 points each) and Aline Niyonsaba with 2.5 points.

Layola, the youngest player in the squad will be making her debut in the main world tournament. Last year, she failed to qualify for the World Youth Chess Championship in United Arab Emirates after finishing second behind her 11-year elder brother Ian Murara Uwintwari who represented Rwanda at the Al Ain edition.

Like daughter like father, Maxence Murara the father to Layola also secured a national slot as he finished third, tied on seven points with Eugene Kagabo and Alain Patience Niyibizi to seal the national team slots.

Candidate master Godfrey Kabeera who won the men’s chess tournament after securing 12.5 points out of 14 and Alex Ruzigura who finished second with 8 points are the other members on the men’s team.

The ten chess players will now have to mentally prepare excellently with two months to go so as to register outstanding performance in Tromso.

Rwanda has previously participated in several Chess Olympiads but failed to impress - and the country is currently ranked 145th in World ranking behind regional giants Uganda at 105, Burundi at 128 and Kenya at 139.


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