Chess House

Katende Chess Initiative

  • October 07, 2023

This week I met with Robert Katende, best known as "Coach" in the Queen of Katwe Disney movie. Did you know that the movie is true-to-life in nearly every detail? Every chess game is the actual game played thanks to Robert's consulting role.

I was astounded to learn that 41 college degrees have come out of Katwe Uganda so far. Further more, a $150 monthly salary is in the upper end of average earnings.

Remember Phiona and Benjamin? Phiona Mutesi is now with Deloitte after leaving a role at Microsoft and Benjamin is a graduate of Duke university.

The movie brought awareness for chess in Uganda and Africa as a whole. But it didn't translate into as much direct support for the persevering work of Katende as one might imagine.

Making a difference

There are now more than 25,000 children whose lives are made better by the work of Katende's team and graduates.

What impacted me the most in our meeting was how every $ in these chess programs is maximized. With such a low salary compared to U.S. standards, it is a monumental investment to afford chess equipment for these very poor communities.

In some ways, this reflects that grassroots efforts of startup chess programs in the U.S. and other parts of the world that don't receive school funding but need to raise funds on their own.

Supporting Katende Programs

This National Chess Day, we are donating 5% of every order using promo code KATENDE.

This will enable Robert's programs to obtain equipment at no cost so that they can utilize the funds on much needed other areas of the program development.

Save 15% and we'll send 5% to promote youth chess in a Katende program.


Use promo code KATENDE in checkout or apply code to shop.

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