Three months ago, Nairobi Gymkhana made a very profound decision of introducing chess as a regular activity at the club in partnership with Waridi Chess Ventures through its founder, FIDE Instructor and former national chess champion Lawrence Kagambi. The club is committed to providing an enabling environment for its members to enjoy the benefits of several enriching activities.
Since then, many players have been introduced to the game and are now pursuing it as part of their weekly schedule. Research has shown the inherent benefits of chess especially to the youth and therefore, this is a value adding activity.
A holiday chess camp was held from August 3-29 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2- 5pm. On the last day of the camp, a closed tournament for the members was held which attracted 25 players.
The tournament was contested in the Open, under 12, 10 and 8 years age categories. There was fierce competition in the Open category with three FIDE (World Chess Federation) rated players participating namely Fathima Mohamed, the youngest female FIDE rated player in East and Central Africa at 9 years of age, Aravind Vengarai, who at 13 years old only took up chess about two years ago and is now FIDE rated in the standard, rapid and blitz formats and the 15- year-old Subham Rai.
And in a clear confirmation of the benefits of chess in education, the three are all A-class students in academics. Fathima attends Samaj School in Nairobi West while the other two are in Premier Academy in Nairobi. After the dust had settled in the open category, Aravind emerged the best overall with 100% score and Pranjal Parikh caused an upset to be crowned the best girl player in the same category.
Other prize winners were Tirth Thakker who topped the U12 category followed by Saiam Shah, whereas in the U10 Darsh Patel was the best boy as the best girl accolade went to Nakshatraa Shree. Rohit Reddy was the best boy in the U10 and Sanaya Buvaria emerged as the best girl.
The tournament was played over five rounds in the Swiss System of pairing with a time control of 45 minutes per player. The prize giving ceremony was graced by the Nairobi Gymkhana executive committee members—chairman Arun Jain, In-door secretary Nilesh Patel, Out-door secretary Ravi Kaul and the tournament organizers Biren Shah and Lawrence Kagambi.
Puzzle: After a series of sacrifices to smoke out the white king, how did Black (Hikaru Nakamura) finally checkmate White (Wesley So) in this game played at the 2015 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis?
Solution: 1….Rf8+ 2.Kg6 Rf6+ 3.Kxf6 Ne4+ 4.Kg6 Qg5#