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Phiona Mutesi, who we see growing up in Katwe, in the crime-ridden slums of Kampala, capital of Uganda, with a future ahead of her that seems to offer more of the same for her and her family. David Oyelowo co-stars as Christian missionary and youth outreach coordinator Robert Katende, who discovers a hidden prodigy in Phiona when he gathers some of the local children together to teach them the game of chess. Phiona gets very good, very quickly, soon enough besting all of the kids in Katwe, leading Robert to seek greener pastures by trying to have her compete in competitions sponsored by schools for the more formally educated. However, opportunities are scarce for someone of her situation (not only prejudice against people of the slums, but you also need money to enter some of the competitions), and Phiona’s widowed mother Harriet grows increasingly concerned that the path Robert has her on will lead to a diminishing of her home life and earning money to help feed her and the family by selling maize (corn) at the local market.