We thought 2014 was going to be busy…

2014 was a whirlwind and filled with so many exciting opportunities but we are even more excited about what is already happening and 2015 and everything to come!  So, without further delay…

First things first,

The ladies category was won by 13 year old Gloria Nansubuga. This is her first major victory at the highest level. She finished with 7 points out of a possible 8 and walked off with a cash prize of 700,000 and a trophy. On her way to victory, she beat WFM Ivy Amoko, Robina Namwanje, Esther Nakitende, Jacinta Nantume, Joan Nakimuli, Rhoda Namuswe and Olympian Goretti Angolikin. She only lost to WCM Phiona Mutesi.  In second position was Ivy Amoko and Phiona Mutesi finished in third position having made two draws and losing to Ivy Amoko in the second last round


The new Chess Academy and Mentoring Center

Construction continues at the Kampala Ministry Center and last month some children from Katwe (Slum Project in Kampala, Uganda) got a sneak peak at the new facility, including the upcoming Chess Academy and Mentoring Center.  While there, time was taken to pray for the new Center, where several of its buildings will become operational in 2015.

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Kawuma Chess Championship 2015

Stella and Phiona finish in first position in the women’s category!!
They both finish with 6.5 points out of possible 7. Using the system tie break depending on the positions of the opponents you played; Stella is better on tie break. Gloria, Rhoda, Carol, Joan and Vanessa all from SOM Chess academy follow in line.


Queen of Katwe, the movie

AND have you heard the news about The Queen of Katwe MOVIE??  That’s right it looks like production is starting and this could really happen!  The director, Mira Nair has been hard at work in Uganda trying to pull things together, remember she also directed that great movie showing Robert’s life, “A Fork, A Spoon and A Knight.”  What we know so far is that David Oyelowo will be playing Robert Katende, Lupita Nyong’o will be Harriet Mutesi, Phiona’s mom and who will be playing Phiona is still a mystery to us!  But we will be sure to share once we hear!

WOW, it’s only February and this year has already been full of exciting and surprising events!  Can’t wait to see what Spring brings!

A Fork, A Spoon & A Knight

A film by Mira Nair depicting the life of Robert Katende

The life of Robert Katende, the founder and director of the Sports Outreach Chess Academy, has now been depicted in a short documentary. The film entitled “A Fork, A Spoon, and A Knight,” was released in mid December to help commemorate the anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela. Director, Mira Nair believes the documentary will inspire young people everywhere as it brings to life a famous quote by Mandela, “Difficulties break some men, but make others.” See how Robert overcomes many challenges to complete school, become a teacher, a husband, father and member of Sports Outreach staff, while turning  the Katwe slum of Kampala into a world famous chess sanctuary and place of healing for abandoned children. Robert’s courage, fortitude and faith illustrates Mandela’s quote beautifully.

 The film also features a song written by Ugandan recording artist Edwin Ruyonga about Robert, “Ekitakumenya.

Please take a moment to be inspired and challenged as you enjoy A Fork, A Spoon and A Knight, the story of your friend and Sports Outreach staff member Robert Katende.

Mira Nair is also directing the Walt Disney movie project “The Queen of Katwe,” starring Lupita Nyongo The film is based on the book of the same name, by Tim Crothers and tells the complete story of Robert as well as that of one of his students Phiona Mutesi.


World Youth Chess Championship : Gloria and Tendo

The World Youth Chess Championship which began on 20 September runs till 30 September 2014.   The first time a Ugandan participated in the World Youth Chess Championship was when reigning National Junior Champion, Benjamin Mukumbya took part in last year’s event held in Al Ain, UAE and earned himself a first rating after a solid display in the Under 18 category. Uganda’s upcoming teenager, Gloria Nansubuga made the country proud beating a 1613 rated Irina Andriatsiferana of Madagacar in the second round of the ongoing World Youth Chess Championship played on Sunday 21 September 2014 in Durban, South Africa.  Nansubuga had earlier lost to Romania’s Coman Emilia Florentina rated 1814 in the first round played yesterday. She is on zero rating and participating in the Under 14 age category.   Gloria secured her second win after beating South Africa’s Gardiner Nina rated 1663 in the third round played at the International Convention Center in Durban yesterday evening!!  Nansubuga now has 2 points out of 3  in The Under 14 Girls category. She is now up against  much tougher opposition in Australia’s Chiara Polterauer rated 1903 in the third fouth round to be played today.

Another Ugandan based in the USA, Tendo Lumala(The same young man who Phiona had the opportunity to meet while in Seattle, WA this past spring!!) , is also participating in the Under 10 boys category. He lost the first two games, but has secured his first win in the same round. He beat Malawi’s Charles Gondwe Kimwa in the Under 10 boys category.

GLoria with the Flag

Gloria has been given the National Flag by the president of Uganda Chess Federation Mr. Vianney Luggya (left) and her school Flag by her school administrator Mr. Isaac Kahinda (Center) during a press conference before she left for competition!


The Energizer Bunnies

Robert and Phiona are in Norway!!  Robert and Phiona just never stop going, if they aren’t playing chess here its there or they are on a plane across the world and back.  Who can keep track these days!  So the latest is they are at the Olympiad and are adjusting to the 23 hours of daylight and the cooler temperature while she is also feeling out her competition!  She has already played three games which resulted in the first game a loss and the second two wins! She and Robert are staying focused along with the rest of her team and are taking all the opportunities they can to practice but still have plenty of rest and getting to meet fellow players and make new friends!

Robert and Phiona at the Olympiad  Phiona playing her 3rd game

They will be in Norway for one more week before they head back to Uganda for only a month and half and then they will be BACK in the US to share at a conference hosted by ONE and Google.  It doesn’t stop there either with their constant schedule; just since they have been in Norway, The Christian Broadcasting Network aired a 12 minute feature on the two of them, talking about Phiona’s story and the work Robert has been doing through Chess.  They were interviewed this past Spring while Robert and Phiona were in the States touring and since CBN has worked very hard compiling other footage and information to make a wonderful piece.  You may watch the entire feature here.

It really is truly amazing how far their story reaches whether they are in Uganda, the US, Norway or any other country or continent.  We can’t wait to share how Phiona finished out at the Olympiad, but in the mean time please follow her on Facebook or Twitter for updates!

Building Has Begun!

We are so excited to announce that ground has been broken for the new Chess Academy and Mentoring Center in Kampala.  Along with the Chess Academy, construction has also begun on two children’s homes, the welcome center and the basketball court.  This is a huge step towards being able to expand this ministry and have a safer place for children to come and learn.  We appreciate the continued prayers and support and will continue to keep you updated!

Please visit our official Kampala Ministry page for more information.

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Home Sweet Home

Robert and Phiona are home and have enjoyed being back into their normal routine over the past week and half.  They have each been able to enjoy time with family before Robert getting back to work and Phiona returning to school and friends. We would like to thank everyone for all of your prayers and support over the past month and a half as Robert and Phiona traveled all over the United States.  They were able to share their story and touch so many lives and for a trip so long to have no one become sick or have any injury is a true blessing.  Thank you!

We hope you will continue to check back and follow for updates on Phiona, the chess academy and stories of other children involved in the program.


Uganda is Calling….

Today is the day, Robert and Phiona have been here for five weeks and are more than ready to go home to see family and Job has been here 10 months so I think we can all imagine how badly he misses his family.  This trip has been incredible, the lives that they have all touched and the people that they have been able to share their story with who would normally never have heard it is all God’s work.

Robert and Phiona have spoken across the US and have met so many new friends and people.  We want to especially thank The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who were the initial decision to bring them back to the US for their third time and paid for their airfare to and from Uganda.  The friends they have made we all hope will continue to stay in touch and work together and maybe even get them over to Uganda one day!

It is crazy to think back that April 18 marked the beginning of this journey in Portland, OR followed by Seattle, Santa Barbara, Greenwich, Bronxville, NYC, Memphis, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Charlotte, Cary/Apex and Washington, DC.  WOW, I am tired just trying to remember all of those places, how those two trooped across the US sometimes only staying in places one night at a time.

I think it is safe to say everyone is worn out and we all need to get some sleep so please check back tomorrow for special notes and news on Robert, Phiona and Job’s safe travels.

Thank you to everyone who has helped support this journey however that may have looked to you.  We hope you will continue to follow the QueenofKatwe.com for chess updates and future stories of the many other great stories that are growing out of this program!

As it comes to an end…

Today was our final full day together before Robert, Phiona and Job fly home to Uganda! It has been such an amazing five weeks and the lives that they have touched cannot be counted.  Their story inspires and touches every person they meet, it may not all be in the same way and those people may choose to never share that with anyone, but you can see it. You can see it in the faces as they share and the tears that people are brought to from the humble spirit these two have.  Robert and Phiona are amazing models for us all on the awesomeness of God and remembering that all good things come from Him and we are to take those good things and use them to glorify His name, not ours.  That is something that Robert and Phiona cannot hide, they are true servants of Christ.

Today was started with yet another beautiful day loaded with relaxation.  We were all able to get caught up on emails, rest, packing, and enjoy the final time with the DeWeese family and each other.  Then it was off to Community Academy Public Charter School in downtown DC.  This school has had a chess program that was started by a math teacher 2 years prior, fun thing is it is similar in some ways, the teacher did it without knowing really everything about chess either, similar to Robert.  They had a phenomenal group of kids involved, many of which girls.  One girl in particular had been a leader and was the only girl in the chess club for a long time before other girls joined.  She acted as a leader, teacher and role model for girls and boys, she shared a little bit about what chess means to her and a special thank you to Phiona for coming and sharing.  This school was full of smiling gracious people, the kids were great and many parents even came out to watch and support.  The school hosted an assembly that allowed Rodney, Robert and Phiona to all speak before heading down for a chess exhibition.  During the exhibition Robert and Phiona were both able to play chess with some of the children before heading to a small reception they were hosting.  Mr. Amos, the founder of the school, which is seventeen years old was so excited and so gracious to even offer a donation from the school for the Chess Academy.

Following the school we took a short walk to a small cafe to catch our breath and grab a quick snack and drink before heading to a reception hosted by Marc Rotenberg with the US Chess Center.  He and his wife Anna were incredibly gracious hosts along with their daughter.  They had several others who were involved with chess, the school Anna teaches at and some coworkers of Marc.  It was a great time of fellowship with a lot of new friends that allowed Robert and Phiona to share their story with a few more people.  Many had not really understood the magnitude of this story so it was amazing to watch how everyone responded.  Marc and Anna were incredible hosts and we hope that Robert and Phiona will be able to keep in touch with many people they met that night along with the US Chess Center.

We want to thank Mr. Amos and all the hard work that his staff did to arrange for Robert and Phiona to come and share, it was truly incredible.  Also, Robert McLellan who arranged all today along with several other meetings and schools the past 5 weeks, we could not have done many of this with out you Robert.  Thank you to everyone.

Tomorrow will be a slow day, going around getting any last minute items before they fly out at 6:00pm.

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