Veteran Larry Kagambi had to summon all his chess knowledge from the archives to triumph over a field of 77 players and be crowned the 56th Nairobi Chess Club Championship winner, with a perfect score of 5/5 points, at Braeburn School Gitanga Road, over the weekend.
The twice Olympian and 1990 national champion, as well as a qualified FIDE Arbiter and Instructor was closely followed by three players who tied on 4.5 points; Uganda’s Olympian Matthias SSonko, Mowliid Ahmed and Yours Truly of KCB Chess Club. Completing the prize bracket on 4 points were Vincent Ng’eno, Jacktone Mony, Olympian Joseph Atwoli, Victor Hongo, sensational Chacha Matiko, Olympian and Chess Kenya chairman Githinji Hinga and KCB’s Ricky Sang.
Played over 5 rounds with each player having 1 hour to finish the game, there was no room for error. Pre-tournament favourite and Uganda’s Olympian FM Harold Wanyama missed the first round that saw his chances of winning the only tournament he hasn’t laid claim on the champion’s title in Kenya go up in smoke.
Chacha Matiko was also crowned the top challenger, followed by Jackson Okoth and Kevin Owen of 3 points apiece. In the juniors category for boys Subham Rai won with 3.5 points ahead of Dev Shah and Srinjay Mukophadyay who tied on 3 points, same as Ritvik Pendyala who finished in 4th position. In the junior girls category the winner was Olympian and national champion WCM Riya Shah with 3 points followed by Reanna Varsani and Subhika Grande who also garnered 3 points each, with Saloni Karania finishing in 4th place on 2 points. Olympian Isabella Asiema triumphed in the ladies category with 3 points ahead of Uganda’s Elizabeth Kasujja who managed 2 points after also missing the 1st round.
The closing ceremony was presided over by Engineer Rodgers Adai of ARM Engineering co, Ltd, who had sponsored the event to the tune of KShs.50,000. Other sponsors included former reigning national champiom Humphrey Andolo who sent KShs.5,000, Aslam Adam who donated pocket chess sets for every participant plus KShs. 15,000 and a Mr. Vasant who gave Nakumatt gift vouchers worth Kshs. 10,000.
Puzzle: Find White’s (GM V.Potkin) winning combination against Black (GM A.Shirov) in this game played during the FIDE World Cup, 2011.