On Friday, MTI's REAL. LIFE. Exhibit received a special visit from Phiona Mutesi, a national chess champion in Uganda. She stopped by with Robert Katende, her chess coach, and Don Brenneman, Oregon Ministry Director at Sports Outreach Institute.
Phiona Mutesi, Don Brennaman, Robert Katende
Mutesi grew up in the slum of Katwe in Uganda. Here father died of AIDS when she was about three years old. She and her siblings lived on the streets. When she was about nine, Mutesi followed her brothers about two miles to a food program run by Sports Outreach Institute.
At the center, Mutesi was not interested in soccer, like her brothers. Instead, she fell in love with chess. She met Katende who is a missionary at Sports Outreach, and he became her coach.
Among her accolades, Mutesi has participated in two Chess Olympiads, and become one of the first titled female chess players in Ugandan history. In 2012, author Tim Crothers wrote a book based on her life called The Queen of Katwe, One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion. Disney is currently making a movie about Mutesi.
Through chess, Mutesi has been able to change her life. She is visiting the U.S. now to share her story at churches and through interviews. She is also helping to raise money for local children through Chess for Success.
It was a pleasure to have such a distinguished guest visit MTI so that we can share our mission.