Olympian and former national champion CM Kenneth Omolo beat a field of 38 players in the prestige section to emerge winner of the 4th edition of the Daystar Open Chess Championship held at the Athi River campus over the weekend.
CM Omolo, who turns out for Equity Bank Chess Club, topped the leader board on Buchholz tie-break after 3 other players, Uganda’s CM Haruna Nsubuga, KCB’s CM Ben Magana and last year’s champion and Chess Kenya (CK) chairman Githinji Hinga, all scored 5/6 points. They each took home Sh18,000.
They were followed by CK secretary general Joseph Atwoli, who turns out for the Deadly Bishops, alongside Hinga, and the KCB duo of Ricky Sang and Phillip Singe, who scored 4.5 points apiece. But the stunning performance of Boniface Kiunga to garner 4 points was the revelation of the tournament, as he downed Magana and Singe on his way to topping the Grand Prix standing with a Tournament Performance Rating (TPR) of 2102 Elo points.
In the open section, Uganda’s duo of IM Elijah Emojong and IM Arthur Ssengwayi, who both play for Equity, tied for joint 1st on 6/7 points in a field that had 59 players. They each took home Sh20,000 as Wal Joseph, Peter Ding, Joseph Methu and Brian Adorwa tied for 3rd place on 5.5/7 points to pocket Sh4,300 each.
The ladies section saw the unbeatable Ugandan WFM Ivy Amoko of KCB collect 6.5/7 points to be crowned champion with a purse of Sh20,000 safely in her custody. Equity’s Olympian Gloria Jumba yet again played second fiddle to Ivy by finishing as 1st runners-up on 5.5 points and took home Sh15,000 as another Olympian WCM Jane Wambugu was the 2nd runners-up with 5 points to take home Sh10,000.
Olympians Purity Maina (KCB) and Isabelle Asiema managed 4.5 points apiece to complete the prize distribution by each getting Sh2,500. Premier School’s Vihaan Kumar produced a splendid performance in the junior section by scoring a perfect 7/7 points to relegate seasoned winner Aguda Lwanga of Consolata School to second place on 5.5 points.
In third and fourth place on 4.5 points were Makini School’s Davies Musiko and Reuben Githaiga. All the junior winners were presented with trophies and certificates of participation. Daystar University triumphed in the higher institutions of learning category, followed by Strathmore University as Kenyatta University finished third. Equity Bank won the best institution team category while the rookie category title went to Mawei Tit from South Sudan.
Puzzle: How did White (Boniface Kiunga) proceed to win against Black (Ben Magana) in this game at the 2015 Daystar Open?
Solution: 1.Nxh7 Kxh7 2.Qh5+ Kg8 3.Qxg6 Qf6 4.Qh5 g6 5.Qh6 Nc5 6.Nh5 wins