International chess champion visits Patterson

Phiona Mutesi with her coach Robert Katende holding the Chess along with the patterson students and teachers. creadit Faran Nadeem.

Phiona Mutesi with her coach Robert Katende holding a chess board, along with the Patterson students and teachers (Photo: Faran Nadeem)

By Faran Nadeem,

Phiona Mutesi, the international chess master, came to Patterson on Thursday, April 20, 2017. She is also known as “The Queen of Katwe.” She came to have a little talk with the students and tell about her life and how she reached where she is now. It was a great afternoon. We all had fun. It was a pleasure to have Phiona and her coach, Robert Katende, in our school.

She was born in 1996, Kampala, Uganda. She is Uganda’s first female international chess player. Before she learned about chess, she was not interested in it. In fact she didn’t even know what chess was until she stopped by the chess room in Robert’s program. She went in the chess room just for milk, according to her.

She played and won many games in Uganda, as well as internationally. She was the best player in her class and on her team. She used to beat her coach, Robert Katende, sometimes. She belonged to a very poor family. She used to sell maize with her younger brother for living. In 2016 Disney made a movie called “The Queen of Katwe,” which tells about her amazing life, and her triumph over difficulty. It shows the challenges she faced in her life. I, myself, watched the movie. It’s actually a really great and emotional movie.

I have to say that she is one of the nicest and most polite ladies I have ever met. We all had questions that we asked. She and her coach were more then happy to answer each question. “It was nice meeting her,” said Sartre. She also played chess with 4 students at the same time, while Coach Robert gave a chess lesson to one of Patterson’s top players, Jeremiah Lemmon. Another top player, Nan Wang, played against Phiona, and said, “That was really good. I had a lot of fun and I learn a lot of moves.” Both Phiona and her coach had some really good tips and lessons that they shared with Patterson students and staff. The biggest lesson they told was  “Never give up, never surrender” both in the game and in the real life. That is what she did and we all can see where she is now.



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