The President of the African Chess Confederation (ACC), Lewis Ncube from Zambia is expected to jet into the country today, accompanied by the Zone 4.2 President from Uganda, Vianney Luggya to assess Kenya’s preparedness to host the Zone 4.2 Under 16 Team Championship in April this year.
They will meet with Chess Kenya (CK) officials and other stakeholders during their 5-day stay in the country, and probably visit some of the proposed venues that shall host this inaugural event on the ACC calendar. Zone 4.2 comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Seycheles.
The other Zones in Africa are Zone 4.1, 4.3, and 4.4 and according to Ncube, the winners of each of the 4 zonal under-16 Championships will get travel grants to the 2015 World Youth under-16 Olympiad to be held in July at a venue yet to be communicated. “This means that Africa will be represented by at least 4 teams,” he added.
Initially, the zonal winners were meant to fight it out for the sole right to represent the continent at the Youth Olympiad, but Ncube’s recommendation was approved by the ACC board.
“I evaluated the travel costs involved for the teams going for the Zonals and the introduction of the African Individual Championships that will lead to a congested calendar for our youngsters, and suggested this format to the board,” he added.
It should also be noted that Uganda will be hosting the 2015 Zone 4.2 Individual Championships in April, with Tanzania scheduled to host the 2015 African Schools Individual Championships from August 14-23 in Dar es Salaam; a major boost to the East African region whose players are expected to feature prominently at these events as they seek to improve on their international ratings as well as get FIDE titles.
In the FIDE-rated Kenya National Chess League (KNCL) matches played over the weekend, the Equity Bank vs KCB clash lived up to its billing of being the game that could as well decide the title race. It was not lost to last year’s runners-up KCB how they narrowly surrendered the title they had held as a personal preserve to Equity Bank, as they triumphed 3-2 to set up the stage for an interesting sprint to the finish line!
Fresh from winning the Rwabushenyi Memorial Open tournament and the Blitz championship in Uganda, FM Harold Wanyama saw off the previous holder FM Arthur Ssegwanyi on board one with the black pieces. Former national champion CM Ben Magana then bamboozled Mowliid Ahmed by not playing his characteristic first moves to win quickly.
Olympian Jackson Kamau then beat veteran 8-time Olympian CM John Mukabi in a double edged endgame.
Jackton Mony on board 4 and new recruit WCM Ivy Amoko on board 5 pulled 2 back for Equity Bank by beating FM Steve Ouma and WCM Rose Wabuti respectively. Still in a celebratory mood, KCB was almost upset by Kenyatta University whom they narrowly beat 3-2 with Austin Walela holding the seemingly invincible Wanyama to a draw as Equity Bank rolled over the hapless Technical University of Kenya 5-0 in the afternoon games.
Equity Bank however still top the league table on game points but tie on 18 points on match points with KCB, who have a game in hand. Other results were: Deadly Bishops 3.5 vs Mombasa 1.5; Checkmates 5 vs Mt. Kenya University 0; Tritonite Stars 1.5 vs Samurai Warriors 3.5. Action switches to Mombasa on the weekend of 7-8 February at the Technical University of Mombasa.
Puzzle: This is a position between White (John Mukabi) of Equity Bank versus Black (Jackson Kamau) of KCB as played in the 2014/2015 KNCL. How did Black gain an advantage against White whose King is stranded at the centre of the board?
Solution: 1….Na5 2.Nf3 Nb3 winning an exchange (the rook)…if 3.Ra2 Bb1