National champion CM Ben Magana, debutant Jackson Kamau, Olympians Steve Ouma, FM Martin Gateri and Joseph Atwoli will represent Kenya in the open section at the 41st Olympiad in Tromso, Norway from 1st - 15th August this year.
In the ladies section, 14 year old national champion WCM Riya Shah will be making her maiden appearance alongside seasoned Olympians Rose Wabuti, Gweyani Jumba, WCM Jane Wambugu and Purity Maina.
In the final qualifier fought over 5 days in a 10 game round robin format, players literally found themselves at their wits end, as some games lasted for almost 3 hours in a bid to outclass your opponent. The tension was palpable, and while others cracked, their rivals reveled in the moment as they bagged 3 priceless points awarded for a win.
Given that a draw was almost as good as a loss since one scored only 1 point, no one wanted it, and even in obviously drawn positions, the combatants played on, hoping for a breakthrough, somehow, and it did pay off for some!
Former Olympians Mehul Gohil and Isabelle Asiema missed the cut, as Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) chess club underscored their dominance on the local scene by placing 3 players in the national team; Ben, Gweyani and Purity.
With less than 3 months to go before the Olympiad starts, Chess Kenya (CK) now has to ensure that the team gets adequate training, if we are to improve on our past poor performance. Interest now shifts to who will be the 2 national team coaches.
Puzzle: In this game played at the 40th Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey - 2012, how did black (GM Mark Paragua) proceed against white (GM Petr Kostenko)?
Solution: 1….Rxd3+ 2.cxd3 Qb2+ 3.Ke3 Nxd1+ 4.Kf4 Qc1+ is winning.