After the grueling regional qualifiers, 89 players faced off at Alliance High School over the weekend in the Kenya National Youth chess Championship-cum World Youth Chess Championship (WYCC) finals.
Not only did the winners earn a slot in the national team to play in Durban, South Africa during the 2014 WYCC from the September 18-30, but were also crowned national champions in their respective age categories.
The players were selected from 4 regional qualifiers held in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu and Nyeri, in which over 500 players took part. Organised and well run by Chess Kenya (CK), the 12-member team will comprise of 6 boys and 6 girls who received glittering trophies for their sterling performance.
Instructive chess books were also given to the participating schools in a bid to help them improve their games through studying, an inevitable regime for any aspiring chess champion.
The boys are: Under 8-Aguda Lwanga (Consolata School); Under 10-Akshat Karania (Oshwal Academy), Under 12- Dev Shah (Kenton College Preparatory School); Under 14 -Raphael Ndonga (St. Mary’s Boys Nyeri); Under 16 - Martin Njoroge (Baricho High School); Under18 - Ian Gichuguma (Kirimara High).
The girls are: Under 8 - Jia Hiranandani (Oshwal Academy); Under 10 -Gilliane Titi (Nairobi Pentecostal Church Academy); Under 12: Reanna Varsani (Premier School); Under 14 - WCM Riya Shah (also the reigning national champion) of Aga Khan Academy); Under 16-Saloni Karania (Oshwal Academy); Under 18- Rebecca Waweru (Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls).
Oshwal Academy was the best school after placing 3 players in the national team. CK in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, will soon be rolling out chess in schools in the 47 counties, as they distribute the 5,000 chess sets and boards received from the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF).
And at the University of Nairobi, the 7th edition of the Federation of African Universities Sports (FASU) Games kicked off in earnest on the July 10 and will conclude on July 18. Participating countries are Egypt, Uganda, Mozambique and Kenya. Egypt have a very strong men’s team comprising IM Hesham Abdelrahman rated 2387, IM Ameir Moheb (2281), and IM Nader Mohamed (2098). Uganda’s Mathias Ssonko (2138) and Mozambique’s CM Abrantes Persson (1985) complete the rated players lineup.
Kenya is represented by George Githui, Owen Odhiambo, Nicodemus Ndonye, George Omondi and Arnold Oyagi, with Olympiad Gloria Jumba (1507) and Rahab Gachigi carrying the ladies mantle. Egypt’s WCM Eman Elansary (1850) is the strongest in this field.
In a weekend filled with chess action, come Sunday, Ronak Gudhka organised the Oshwal Youth League Open tournament that attracted 28 participants played over 6 rounds at the Oshwal Academy Nursery School.
The top three finishers in the various categories were: Under 10-1.Sunil Subramaniam 6pts 2.Anish Sukumar 4pts 3.Ruan Shah 3.5pts; Age 10-14: 1.Sumit Deshpande 6pts 2.Arnav Kachra 4.5pts 3.Harshil Visariya 4pts; Age 14-18: 1.Sita Shah 3.5pts 2.Kushal Visariya 3pts 3.Renee Kachra 2.5pts and in the over 18: 1.Savan Haria 4.5pts 2.Kushal 2.Prakash Haria 4pts 3.Ronak Gudhka 3pts.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Kenyatta University (KU) Open chess tournament will be held at the Business and Students Services Centre (BSSC) at the campus, on July 19th and 20th of this month. Organized by the KU Chess Club, it will be played over 7 rounds using the Swiss pairing system, with each player having 45 minutes to finish the game. Entry fee is Sh1,000 and further inquiries can be made to the club’s patron, D.Mutwol on 0722785955 or the captain P.Ding on 0705518473.
Lucrative cash prizes are on offer with the overall winner taking home Sh10,000 and a trophy, while the best lady wins Sh5,000 plus a trophy, as the top junior walks away with a gift hamper.
Puzzle: How did Black (GM W.Hao from China) win against White (GM Ahmed Adly from Egypt) in this game played at the 8th World Teams, 2011?
Solution: 1…h4 2.gxh4+ Kh5 3.Bc5 Qh3+ 4.Kg1 Bf3 5.Qd2 Bg3 with mate to follow with Qh1.