Those who work with her believe she’s 16. But since her birthday is unclear, she she might be younger, 15 maybe. Her father died from AIDS when she was around 3. She grew up in one of the poor. She couldn’t read or write. As a child, she scrounged for food each day for herself, her mother, and her brother.
But a chance encounter with a chess coach turned her into a rising international chess star, the subject of a book and the protagonist in a future Disney movie.
Meet Ugandan teenager Phiona Mutesi.
“I was living a hard life, where I was sleeping on the streets, and you couldn’t have anything to eat at the streets. So that’s when I decided for my brother to get a cup of porridge.” Meanwhile, in Katwe, a missionary and refugee of Uganda’s civil war, had started a chess program. He offered a bowl of porridge to any child who would show up and learn. Mutesi went there, she didn’t become a top player overnight. But from the time she first showed up in 2005, she amazed a lot of people with her extraordinary talent. She liked the game of chess, and started training and practicing regularly. “It took me like a year” to get very good. She walked about four miles a day to practice and ofcourse, to get her bowl of porridge. She found herself beating the older girls and boys in the program after a short while.
Phiona became her country’s champion and represented Uganda at international tournaments. In 2009, she traveled to Sudan. Then, in 2010, to Siberia where she saw ice for the first time. Mutesi is not one of the world’s top chess players. But she is the first titled female Ugandan player. She has a fighter’s instinct to reach the top level.
“Chess gave me hope, whereby now I’m having a hope of becoming a doctor and … a grand master,” she said.
She’s now learning to read and write.
Meanwhile, Mutesi is becoming an inspiration to people all over the world and to me too.
This story should tell you something.
Now please, someone go to Ajegunle and teach those people chess. They havnt had any star from there since galala faded. Chess is much better than dancing like one has epilepsy and stroke.