– Phiona Mutesi was a muddy, desperate nine-year-old foraging for food in Uganda’s biggest slum, Katwe, when she discovered, through her older brother Brian, a chess programme.
It was not pawns, rooks, bishops, knights or a king that drew her to a church verandah in Katwe, Kampala – it was what came with the lessons: a free bowl of porridge.
“We didn’t have food. We were sleeping on the streets because we didn’t have the money to rent a house. It was a hard time,” says Mutesi, 17, whose father died of AIDS when she was three . . .