Robert Katende

Chess coach, Robert Katende, was born and raised in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. When Robert was still a child he was handed over by his mother to his grandmother to be taken care of. When his grandmother had passed away his two aunts had stepped in and raised him in the slums of Nakulabye. He had struggled to get to college, but had eventually made it to Kyambogo University. He got his degree in civil engineering with a focus on water engineering while at the University. After schooling, in 2002, Robert had gotten involved with Sports Outreach, a worldwide Christian organization that helps “restore communities.” He had started coaching soccer to help kids who were in the slums stay off the streets. After realizing not all kids wanted to play soccer he had created a chess programs in the slums of Kampala and Nairobi. He had first started this program with Sports Outreach in Katwe with only 6 chess players. Robert had tried to get the kids to compete in the National Secondary School Tournament, but they were reluctant to let Robert and the children participate in the tournament because they were from the slums. They were able to make an appearance in 2005. Now in these chess programs there is over 1,200 kids involved. 

Robert at Chess Academy

Robert coached Phiona Mutesi, who is now a well-known national chess player . In 2006 Phiona was the National Junior Chess Champion in Uganda. She won this three years in a row with the help of Robert to coach her. Robert went on to coach her through the the World Chess Olympiad where she had represented her country, Uganda. Disney came out with a movie based on their story called Queen of Katwe. It was released on September 16, 2016.    


Robert Katende with Phiona Mutesi


Since he has been so committed to Sports Outreach he is now the “Project Coordinator in Katwe and Sports Outreach Director for Africa.”  He was given the “General Secretary for the Social Action Commission of the World Chess Federation.” Has done many motivational speeches including ones at Women in World Summit, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation staff conference and many more. He hopes to launch the Robert Katende Foundation soon in hopes to “inspire the lives of others.” He is now married to his wife Sarah and has three kids, Hope, Queen and Mercey.


Work Cited

Featured image: ROBERT KATENDE, “Robert Katende | FIDE – Social Action Commission.” FIDE Social Action Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

“Inspiring Stories | Meet the Real King of Katwe — Coach Robert Katende.” Welcome to                                                        the Ugandan Diaspora News Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

 “Robert Katende.” Queen of Katwe. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

“Robert Katende.” Som Chess Academy. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

“Transforming Lives One Move At A Time.” Sports Outreach. N.p., 12 July 2016. Web. 01 May 2017.




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