This weekend Kisumu will be the place to be as the Scottish Tartan Hotel plays host to the 2nd edition of the Scottish Tartan Open chess tournament. The two-day FIDE-rated event will be played over 6 rounds and is expected to be closely contested. The tournament organiser is Andrew Owili (0727880881) and the chief arbiter will be FA Isaac Babu assisted by FA George Githui.
Traditionally, this is yet another platform for Kenya to try and get the better of our perennial rivals Uganda, who have always triumphed in such derbies. The categories to be contested for are the open, ladies, challengers, juniors, best school and team.
In the inaugural event last year, KCB’s chess team captain and then reigning national champion, CM Ben Magana won the open section, in spite the presence of Uganda’s gladiators in IM Elijah Emojong, FM Harold Wanyama, FM Arthur Ssegwanyi, CM Patrick Kawuma, CM Haruna Nsubuga and veteran CM Bob Bibasa, who have all turned up for their national team.
Uganda’s WFM Ivy Amoko, who recently signed for KCB from Equity Bank chess club, won in the ladies section, cementing her authority as East Africa’s most decorated female player. Individual players and teams will be converging on the lakeside city to try out their repertoires with a view to shrugging off any underdog tag, ahead of the national league which kicks off on the 5th of July at KCB Sports ground in Ruaraka.
Among the pool of local players expected to offer some resistance to the usual suspects from Uganda are the Chess Kenya (CK) chairman, Githinji Hinga, FM Steve Ouma, CM Kenneth Omolo, CM Ben Magana, CK’s secretary general Joseph Atwoli, WFM Rose Wabuti, Daphne Mwikali, Gweyani Jumba, and Sanjana Desphpande, who have also done duty for the country internationally.
Meanwhile, St. Patrick’s High School, Iten, last weekend held a mid-term chess tournament that attracted 197 students. It was organised by the school’s vibrant Pawns to Kings Chess club with a membership of slightly over 300 players, thanks to the support of the administration led by the school’s principal, Wilson Yego and supported by Messrs Kibet, Mukuria, Serem, Cherop and Shem Vilembwa.
On a sombre note, Kenya’s chess fraternity lost its immediate former CK chairman, Bernard Andolo Ambasi on Saturday, a day after another veteran player Fredrick Zacharia ‘Zaggy’ Nyaga had been interred. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.