Chess gave Phiona hope in a hopeless situation. She lived in a slum in Uganda as a struggling young girl. Her widowed mother could not afford to send the children to school. How did Phiona escape such poverty? She learned to be a fighter on the board.
“Queen of Katwe” is an inspiring Disney movie based on the Tim Crothers book “The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion”. I took my granddaughter and my wife with me to the theater to see the movie. My girls loved it.
Phiona Mutesi learned chess from Coach Robert Katende. He ran a program through his church to help kids in the Katwe slum. Katende offered a bowl of porridge to starving kids if they would learn chess. Many became local champions. Scholastic chess is presented well with its joys and fears and smiles and tears. The movie deals with real life issues of young girls in the ghetto. I found nothing inappropriate in language or pictures, but this two hour drama might not appeal to very young children.
The real life Phiona made amazing progress that changed her family. She went from nothing to an impressive young woman. In 2016 Phiona Mutesi returned to compete in the Olympiad for Uganda. Below is a game where Phiona Mutesi won a Bishops Opening against Odile Kalisa in the African Zonal 2015.
Mutesi - Kalisa, African Zonal 4.2 w 2015 Kamwokya UGA (9.7), 25.04.2015 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 [Two other common approaches are 3...Nc6 or 3...c6] 4.Nc3 0-0 5.h3 [Phiona played sharp middlegames but cautious openings. More aggressive are 5.f4 or 5.Bg5] 5...b6 [Black could try 5...c6 6.Nf3 d5 7.Bb3 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.dxe4 Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 a5=] 6.Nf3 d6 7.a3 Ba6 [7...Be6 8.Bxe6 fxe6 9.Ne2 d5=] 8.Ba2 b5 9.0-0 Bb7? [9...h6 10.b4 Bb6 11.a4+/=] 10.Nxb5 c6 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.Na4 Qb5 13.Nxc5 Qxc5 14.Be3 Qb5 15.Qe2 [Or 15.Qd2+-] 15...Qxb2? [Black accepts the poisoned pawn. 15...Nbd7 16.b4+-] 16.Rfb1 Qc3 17.Bd2 Qxc2 18.Rxb7 Qa4 19.Qe3 Qxa3? [Taking the second poisoned pawn loses big material, but Black was down a bishop anyway. 19...Nbd7 20.d4+-] 20.Bxf7+ Rxf7 21.Rxb8+ Rxb8 22.Rxa3 Rb1+ 23.Kh2 Nh5 24.Ng5 Nf4 1-0
You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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