WHILE our players are in Uganda comes the news that Disney is taking chess to the silver screen.
Al Jazeera reports that “From living in the streets in the slums of Katwe to learning chess in a Sports Outreach Institute missionary programme to becoming one of her nation’s top chess players competing in international competitions, Phiona Mutesi has come a long way.” The subject of dozens of media stories and a book, The Queen of Katwe, Phiona is an inspiration to millions, and especially to girls in a nation where girls are particularly marginalised.“Phiona’s goal is to become a paediatrician. Phiona and her brothers plan to go back to Katwe after they finish school to build a home to provide shelter, clinic care and education for the slum children.
“Phiona enjoys her science classes the most and plays chess after school. She has a real passion for teaching the children chess and a special burden for the young girls.
“In 2013 Phiona was invited to the Women of the World Summit in New York City. The purpose of the summit was to highlight women who have made positive changes in various areas of life.
“Phiona was invited to share how she had overcome so many obstacles to achieve her international level as a chess player.
Every year the summit honours a select few of the women as Women of Impact, Phiona was one of the three for 2013. She was awarded a $25 000 grant to be used to help promote chess and education among impoverished girls in Uganda.
“To date, Phiona has been faithful in using the funds to speak at conferences, organisations and churches. She also hosted the first ever girls-only chess clinic in Uganda – and hoping to have at least 50 girls attend, over 400 girls showed up to the two day clinic.
“Phiona the enlisted help from other female chess players and leaders from the community to help run the clinic.
“Phiona has attended and helped support chess tournaments and clinics in other slums and the war ravaged regions in Uganda.
“Recently, Phiona was recognised as the most influential athlete in Uganda during the ‘Queen’s Baton Relay’ for the Commonwealth Games, where only one athlete from each country is selected.”