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Winners emerge at the inaugural African Mind Sports Championship

Bridge 3 December 2020

With full embrace of technology in line with the bid to continue engaging university students in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African University Sports Federation (FASU) organised its first ever Africa University Mind Sports Championship. The competitions were held online on 28 and 29 November 2020, consisting of men’s and women’s bridge, draughts and chess tournaments.


The draught and bridge championship were held with the support of the International Draughts Federation (IDF) and played on the PlayElephant platform, with two separate competitions for men and women. The women’s championship was held on Saturday 28 November, while the men’s tournaments were played on Sunday 29 November.


The competition, though a first of its kind for FASU with a sizeable 23 universities from 10 countries, also saw 183 participants take part in the competitions. Participating universities presented a maximum of six (6) male and six (6) female players, with the best four (4) players among each category used to rank the universities.


To familiarise participants and National University Sports Federations (NUSF) with the format and rules of the game, trial tournaments were held on 22 and 26 November for the draft championship.  


Bridge competitions


The bridge matches were played online using the PlayElephant platform, while the duration of each game for a player was five (5) minutes and three (3) seconds per move. The games were played in teams, with no individual or team disqualifications involved.


Men’s bridge results:


  1. Botswana Int. Univ. of Sci. & Tech. (BOT)

  2. Botswana Int. Univ. of Sci. & Tech. (BOT)

  3. Makerere University (UGA)


Women’s bridge results:


  1. Busitema University (UGA)

  2. Makerere University (UGA)

  3. Busitema University (UGA)



Draught competitions


The draught tournament was played as pool checkers under the International Draughts Federation (IDF) rules for draughts64 and used the PlayElephant platform for scoring configured to reflect the scoring rules of the IDF.


The Draught event was attended by representatives of Busitema and Makerere University from Uganda, Malawi University and Zimbabwe University.


Men’s draught results:


  1. Enock Makoka Banda—Malawi University (MAW)

  2. Bondo Humble—Malawi University (MAW)

  3. Mahande Xavier—Busitema University (UGA)


Women’s draught results:


  1. Phiri Glory—Malawi University (MAW)

  2. Keirungi Dorothy—Busitema University (UGA)

  3. Nabadda Joan—Busitema University (UGA)


Team draught results:


  1. Busitema University (UGA)

  2. Makerere University (UGA)

  3. Malawi University (MAW)


Chess Competitions


The chess tournament was played using the Lichess platform, where participating universities registered six (6) players each, while the total ranking was made collectively adding up the best four (4) results to reflect the highest-ranking teams.


Women’s chess results:


  1. Busitema University (UGA)

  2. University of Zimbabwe (ZIM)

  3. Technical University Kenya (KEN)


Men’s chess results:


  1. University of Zimbabwe (ZIM)

  2. University of Lagos Nigeria (NGR)

  3. University of Zambia (ZAM)


As mentioned by Mind Sports Association of Uganda (MSAU) Games Director and President, Dr. Dan Isabirye, this inaugural event in Africa certainly sees itself as a reference point for future events.


“I think that the turn out will be quite big with appropriate planning for the second event,” he said.


“Most university sporting championships have been characterised with mostly physical sport. In many instances, only chess and on rare occasions bridge and scrabble make it to the list.”


Emphasising the importance of keeping students engaged while also holding sports events during a pandemic, FASU President Nomsa Mahlangu used this event as a reminder of just how fast FASU is advancing.


 “As promised during the lead up to our elections in March of 2019, innovation and technology are key in growing Africa university sport,” she mentioned.


“FASU will continue to grow its virtual platform offerings beyond sport. The webinars were a start, but now we have the mind games. We are looking forward to more programmes that will connect our students and staff”.