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Uganda produces another Chess World Title holder in Gloria Nansubuga

Gloria Nansubuga, a 17-year-old Ugandan, has won a World Title at World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, making her the third highest-ranked Woman Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation master.



Another Katwe-born chess master has made her mark. Gloria Nansubuga started playing chess at the tender age of 4, under the guidance of her personal coach and school chess teacher, Richard Kakande.

The 43rd FIDE World Chess Olympiad took place from 24 September to 5 October 2018 in Batumi, Georgia. The biennial tournament is an 11-round Swiss open featuring 185 teams from 183 countries, with 919 players in total. The women’s section features 151 teams from 149 countries, with 749 players, including almost all of the women’s world chess elite.

FIDE has four levels of mastery: Grandmaster (GM) 2500+, International master (IM) 2400+, FIDE master (FM) 2300+, Candidate master (CM) 2200+.

Read: South Africa scores first chess grandmaster


The women-specific titles in descending order are: Woman grandmaster (WGM) 2300+, Woman international master (WIM) 2200+, Woman FIDE master (WFM) 2100+, Woman candidate master (WCM) 2000+.

Nansubuga bypassed Woman candidate master (WCM) to become Woman FIDE master (WFM), becoming the first Ugandan to make such a leap in the tournament. So far the teenager has impressive rankings:

= In Uganda, as a 13-year-old, she dominated as the top Under 14 player and 6th overall of the total female chess players, who total up to 42 (30 of them in active chess)


= Among the Under 14 girls on the continent she ranked 4th out of 25 active players and 142nd out of 2 649 total chess female players (1 743 are active) in Africa

= Worldwide Nansubuga was then ranked at 6 205 out of the total 168 055 female chess players (of which 90 059 are active at the moment) by FIDE

Interestingly, Gloria’s character in the highly acclaimed 2016 film Queen of Katwe was Phiona Mutesi’s underling. Now, in real life, she is emerging as a player to be reckoned with in her own right. She has a way to go to attain Mutesi’s grandmaster status, but she is surely on her way.