Patrick Robinson
Chess champion Phiona Mutesi, from Uganda, came to West Seattle Elementary School on April 23 to speak to the students and even had a chance to play a little during her visit.

Intl. chess champ brings inspirational message to West Seattle Elementary

17 year old chess champion Phinoa Mutesi paid a visit to West Seattle Elementary April 23, bringing an inspirational message to the students. She had a chance to visit and even play a little with the children in a visit that included a bit of classroom instruction from Chess Lady Wendi Fischer of First Move and an assembly for the whole school.

Mutesi, who is Uganda's Junior chess champion came with her coach Robert Katende. She will meet with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to share her inspiring story, detailed in a recent book called Queen of Katwe. It tells the story of how the game of chess, combined with education and faith transformed her life. The book is set to become a film produced by Disney.

Her story is inspirational. She was a 9 year old girl in Kampala, Uganda just trying to eat when she followed her brother to a shack where they came upon a Ugandan missionary teaching children to play chess.

She quickly learned the game and was seen to be a prodigy. She has gone on to become one of Uganda's top chess players despite the fact she has only had a limited education.

Phiona came to the U.S last year to receive an award at the Women in the World Summit and was introduced to The Gates Foundation.
The award enabled her to pay her own school fees for the year as well as to set aside funds for college.

Last December, she used a portion of the award funds to host a five-day chess clinic for girls from five poverty-stricken areas around Kampala. More than 460 attended the event, meant for only 260.

The visit is part of a tour of the U.S. and was organized by the National Scholastic Chess Foundation.

The goal of the tour is raise funds for U.S. programs, as well as to help the Sports Outreach Institute in Kampala build a Ungandan chess academy, part of a new education center. You can help the campaign raise funds by visiting the FUNDLY.COM site and contributing.

Phiona's goal now is to finish school and then attend a university to become a doctor. Her message is a simple one of how education, and opportunity can transform lives.

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