Friday, March 11, opening reception, and Saturday, March 12, tournament play . Paul Brown Stadium Club West
Phiona Mutesi, soon to be the subject of a Disney film, will be a guest at the 15th anniversary edition of the Queen City Classic Chess Tournament. At the opening night reception, she and her coach, Robert Katende, will receive the Shining Knight Award for their efforts to transform lives through chess. Mutesi grew up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, and began learning chess at age 9 from a missionary program offering a free meal to anyone who stopped for a lesson. Before long, she became Uganda’s women’s junior champion and began competing internationally.
Author Tim Crothers tells her story in the book “Queen of Katwe,” now becoming a feature film. The tournament, hosted by the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund, is expected to draw a capacity crowd of 700 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Participants compete in five rounds of chess with a chance to win individual and team trophies.
Mutesi will not be the only chess star at the QCC. International Grandmasters Maurice Ashley, Gregory Kaidanov and Irina Krush will meet and greet tournament participants and provide commentary on top-ranked games. Cris Collinsworth will emcee the opening night simul, in which local and visiting chess experts play up to 36 students at once.