I can’t wait to see Mira Nair’s new film Queen of Katwe. It is among one my highly anticipated. Did I mention that? David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o are bringing their names to help draw attention to this important story about a young female chess player. Lupita tears up while talking about the film. Earlier I had floated the idea of Lupita being the nominee for Best Actress but the story actually revolves around Madina Nalwanga, who plays Phiona Mutesi, chess champion of Uganda.
Here is her incredible biography from Wikipedia:
Although it is not certain when she was born, FIDE has estimated it to be in 1993. She grew up in the Ugandan slum of Katwe. In 2011 approximately fifty percent of teenage girls were mothers; when Phiona was about three her father died of AIDS and shortly afterwards her older sister Juliet died of an unknown cause. When Phiona was about nine, and had already dropped out of school as her family could not afford to send her, she joined a chess program run by the Sports Outreach Institute, which taught her how to play chess. In 2010 she played six rounds on board 2 and one round on board one for Uganda at the 39th Chess Olympiad, scoring 1.5 points from the seven, and as of 2012 she was a three-time junior girls’ champion of Uganda. In 2012, Phiona and Ivy Amoko earned Woman Candidate Master (WCM) titles as a result of their performances at the 40th Chess Olympiad, making them the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history. That same year Phiona became the first female player to win the open category of the National Junior Chess Championship in Uganda. In September 2013, Mutesi played against Lutaaya Shafiq Holmes of Makerere University, whom she beat and thus took the trophy in the Uganda National Junior Chess Championship of 2013, which was held at City Oil Kira Road in Kisementi, Kololo. In 2014, Phiona played in the 41st Chess Olympiad, on the Ugandan women’s team.