Finally 4 days of mental exertion and deep calculation came to a halt last Sunday! It was a bruising battle fought over 8 rounds to select the top 10 that will join the already qualified national champion Ben Magana in the final phase to pick the 5 national team members. Joseph Atwoli, Githinji Hinga, Moses Andiwoh, FM Martin Gateri, George Nderitu, Brian Kidula, Steve Ouma, Brian Adorwa, Mehul Gohil and Geoffrey Mulaga finished in that order, and will face off in a round robin format over 10 rounds later in April.
Going into the last round, the tension was palpable as several top players found themselves in a must win situation or face the axe. Before each round, the players deposited their electronic gadgets with the arbiter, to avoid cheating by use of the readily available chess engines over the internet.
The well-organised tournament also ensured there was no match-fixing as the Bilbao scoring system was applied. A win gave one 3 points and a draw 1 point, as opposed to the traditional 1 point and 0.5 point respectively. This made for interesting encounters as each player pressed for a win. Kenya’s most capped player and 8-time Olympian, John Mukabi, fell by the wayside!
This coming weekend, a select Team Uganda will be in town to play against Team Kenya in the 3rd edition of the Migingo Cup. According to the match organiser, Kim Bhari, the venue will be Nairobi Chess Club’s base, the Goan Gymkhana, in Ngara.
Quiz. Find the best move for black. This was a blindfold game between GM Anish Giri and GM Viswanathan Anand, played in the 20th Amber Blindfold Tournament in Monaco, 2011.