Chess champion Nakabo shattering sereotypes at All-Africa Games

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Chess champion Nakabo shattering sereotypes at All-Africa Games
Nakabo is raring to go in Accra

As the world commemorates International Women’s month, Women FIDE Master Penninah Nakabo is showcasing her strength and determination as she proudly carries Uganda's flag at the ongoing All Africa Games in Accra.

Nakabo shares her journey, poised to checkmate her way to victory for the first time at the 13th All-Africa Games in Ghana.

Nakabo's reign as the queen of the chessboard in Africa has been marked by consistent determination, grit, and notable achievements, including clinching the African title in 2017, securing silver in 2018, and a bronze in the World Games in Italy.

These accolades make her a natural choice to represent her country in this year’s edition.

In a departure from the norm, Nakabo will not only be competing alone but will also participate in the mixed team event before competing in the Women’s Rapid Individual.

Despite being four months pregnant, she sees this as an opportunity to showcase that every woman can excel, regardless of their circumstances.

"I truly cherish playing chess because, even during pregnancy, one can still excel in the game as long as they remain mentally sharp," she said.

"Chess is purely a mental sport, and as long as you're mentally capable, you can play. Being here in Ghana brings me immense joy, despite the curious looks questioning why a pregnant woman is competing. I'm here to proudly represent Uganda in chess."

Wanyama and Nakabo taking time checking their game out


Recognised as a formidable opponent on the continent, Nakabo remains calm, focused, and undeterred as she prepares for the upcoming mixed event alongside her male counterpart, Harold Wanyama.

Her ultimate goal is to secure a medal, drawing on her experience and determination to outperform her initial position.

Her teammate, Harold Wanyama, echoes sentiments of admiration and respect, praising Nakabo's resilience and ability to bounce back from setbacks, including competing and winning against international players while pregnant.

Nakabo's achievements speak volumes, from her standout performance at the 44th Chess Olympiad to her sterling representation on the international stage.

As the chess community rallies behind her and Wanyama, the president of the Uganda Chess Federation, Emmanuel Mwaka, emphasizes their commitment to gender equality.

“At FIDE, gender equality stands as a pivotal factor in elevating chess as a global powerhouse among sports," Mwaka said.

"Under the Social Commission and Sports Commission, where inclusivity thrives, gender equality prevails. In the upcoming Olympiad, we have the chance to cater to expectant mothers and those on maternity leave, ensuring a truly inclusive event where mothers, expectant women, and our little ones are all supported.

"Together, we empower women worldwide."

Inside the halls of the Allison Hotel in Accra, Ghana, on March 9, history awaits as these exceptional individuals prepare to leave their mark in the mixed team event and the women’s rapid individual, and men’s rapid individual categories.

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