By Samuel Sanya and David Namunyala
UGANDA’S chess fraternity is on the edge of a historic milestone with the impending chess game between Phiona Mutesi and American billionaire Bill Gates.
The yet unscheduled game was secured on a recent visit by Mutesi and her guardian Robert Katende to the US to promote a book about her life by American writer Tim Crothers.
The book, titled “The Queen of Katwe: a story of life, chess, and one extraordinary girl’s dream of becoming a grandmaster” has thrown Uganda’s chess fraternity in the international limelight, with CNN and BBC interested in Uganda’s chess whiz-kid.
“Bill Gates was impressed with the book and articles about Phiona Mutesi. He approached her benefactor, Katende and asked for a game with her as she toured the US,” highly placed sources in the Uganda Chess Federation (UCF) told theNew Vision Sport.
“He offered to have the game anytime she returns to the US, but an exact time and date have not yet been secured. Money for the air tickets has not been secured either.”
Mutesi, grew up in the slums of Katwe after her father died. The senior three students at St. Mbuga Vocational soon after, but, found a new lease of life through playing chess under the Sports Outreach Ministries, a Ugandan sports development outfit.
At 16 years, Mutesi has represented Uganda at the Istanbul Chess Olympiad in 2012 where she earned the title of Woman Candidate Master (WCM) as she continues to strive for the Grand Master (GM) title. Bill Gates is said to have keen interest in chess, despite his overwhelming successful business interests in Microsoft.
Disney, a movie company, has bought the rights to the book, and is said to have started work on a movie to supplement a documentary currently running on You Tube.