The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has committed to lobby for the growth of the sport of chess in a bid to improve its visibility and coverage especially in schools countrywide.
While meeting chess champions who paid a courtesy call on him, Oulanyah noted the importance of chess in Uganda saying, “Sports is the way to go. I want to start training to play chess as soon as possible.”
The President of the Uganda Chess Federation, Emmanuel Mwaka, noted that the federation had not received financial support from the National Council of Sports to support their activities.
“We accumulated a debt of US$10,400 from a trip to the 2017 Chess Olympiad; this is what caused National Council of Sports to come in and support us,” Mwaka said.
He revealed that the 2018 Chess Olympiad will take place in Georgia, and called for support to the Uganda team to participate in the tournament adding that, “It is great to have a player travel for the first time and win big; we request for full flag off and sponsorship.”
Mwaka also noted that chess wasn’t getting good publicity given that it is not spectator friendly, and thus called on the Speaker to patronize the federation to improve the visibility of the sport.
“Any federation is as strong as its network and I believe that with a strong patron to guide and lobby for us, our federation will grow strong,” Mwaka added.
The Deputy Speaker asked the team to present a detailed report to ease the lobbying process to facilitate upcoming engagements.
“I will speak to Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi and see how we can support these youngsters,” said Oulanyah.
Uganda is slated to host the Africa Juniors Chess Tournament on 28 December 2018, which will attract over 60 chess players from all over Africa.
In February 2017, Queen of Katwe, a Walt Disney movie profiling the life and progress in chess sport of Woman Candidate Master Phiona Mutesi, put Uganda on the map.
Mutesi has won the Ugandan Women’s Junior Championship three times, has represented Uganda at four chess Olympiads, and is one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history.