As we step into the second half of the year, we take a walk down memory lane, for as Sir Winston Churchill aptly put it; the further backward you look, the further forward you can see!
Chess Kenya (CK) also just crossed the 1 year mark since coming into office in April 2013, faced with the herculean task of restoring the dented image created by past regimes. It hasn’t been easy but they have given chess a shot in the arm with the introduction of a flurry of activities across the nation, including tournaments.
The major stride has been the introduction of Chess in Schools. Concomitant to this, qualifiers for selecting the national team for the World Youth Chess Championships (WYCC) in Durban, South Africa in September, are being held at the regional level, with schools sending in their representatives.
With the national finals slated for this Saturday at Alliance High School Nyanza, Rift Valley, Mt. Kenya and Nairobi have their teams in place, with Western and Coast regions also expected to field participants. And a major boost has been the donation of 5,000 chess sets by the Kasparov Chess Foundation, a partnership with CK that will definitely be a game changer.
It will also be remembered that this collaboration hosted the 2014 East Africa Open Easter Tournament, at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, arguably the richest in prize-fund as any chess aficionado can recollect, not to mention sending an arbiter to China for an arbitration course, thus attaining FIDE certification.
Come August, CK will send a team of 10 players (5 ladies and 5 men) to the Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway and tickets have already been secured, safe for a few logistical challenges like visa fees and travel insurance that the players have to bear. And that is why corporates and individual entities need to embrace the overtures extended to them if chess is to flourish.
CK has its work cut out and more is expected from them. And for the first time in the history our nation, a Kenyan will arbitrate at the Olympiad!
Puzzle: Find how White (GM T. Gareev checkmated Black (GM Van Wely) at the 39th World Open, 2011.