The 5th London Chess Classic tournament ended on Sunday with top-rated US player Hikaru Nakamura winning the rapid event in style over Israeli finalist Boris Gelfand. The eccentric Nakamura who once played against Magnus Carlsen with his sunglasses on beat Gelfand 1.5-0.5 in a two-game final.
To get to the final, Nakamura beat Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Nigel Short (England) whereas Gelfand defeated Michael Adams (England) and Fabiano Caruana (Italy) in earlier stages of the knockout format.
In local news, reigning Kenya national champion Ben Magana successfully defended his title at the 2014 National Chess Championship held on December 12-15 at Strathmore University, finishing the tournament with an impressive 7 points from 8 rounds ahead of Joseph Atwoli (6.5 points), Jackson Kamau (6.5 points), Mowliid Ahmed (6 points), Mehul Gohil (6 points) and previous Kenya number one Peter Gilruth (6 points).
The ladies section saw an interesting turn of events when junior player Riya Shah, who had been trailing leaders Gloria Jumba and Isabelle Asiema for the better part of the tournament, surged ahead in the last two rounds to finish with 6.5 points and title of National Ladies Champion. Past Olympians Isabelle (6 points), Gloria (5.5 points) and Rose Wabuti (5.5 points) placed second and joint third respectively.
The top 24 players in the open section and top 10 in the ladies section will now move to the next phase of the Olympiad qualifiers where 10 players from the open section will advance to the last phase while the final 5 from the ladies’ section will form the women’s team. The 2014 World Chess Olympiad will be held in Tromsø, Norway.