I admire families that play chess and this brings me to the Kachra kids; two sisters in 15 year-old Renee and Shefali (14) and their twin brothers Arnav and Aryan who turned 12 on Monday this week.
They were introduced to the game between the ages of 4 and 6 by their mother, a chess aficionado, with the support of their father.
Their determination has seen them post impressive performances in local events and win accolades in different age categories, earning them the right to represent the country in international tournaments.
They are under the watchful eye of the qualified FIDE (World Chess Federation) instructor FM Steve Ouma, who is also the CEO of Nairobi Chess Academy and Club.
Among them, they have been to Cape Town, South Africa for the 2009 Africa Youth Chess Championship (AYCC), the 2011 AYCC in Lusaka, Zambia as well as the 2009 and 2010 editions of the World Youth Chess Championship (WYCC) in Antalya, Turkey and Halkidiki, Greece respectively, not to mention the 2012 AYCC in Pretoria, South Africa.
Renee, a year 10 student at Hillcrest International School has been an inspiration to her siblings and had this to say; “I was introduced to this wonderful game by my mum when I was six and a half years old, and at first the game seemed complicated but one year later, I started enjoying it since I could understand its concepts.”
"I have achieved a lot since that time and the good thing with chess is that it is not only a sport but an art and science as well, and helps you to be more creative and focused, plus your concentration level also increases,” she hastened to add.
Her follower Shefali, who is also in Hillcrest in year 9 and a Woman Candidate Master (WCM), said “I remember my 1st tournament was at Gems International School and I came 2nd when I had just celebrated my sixth birthday. I was so inspired by this and I started looking forward to winning a tournament, so I took the game seriously.”
The twins are in year 7 at SCLPS Samaj School and relish the thought of following in their sisters’ footsteps.
They endeavor to outdo each other on the chessboard and this rivalry inspires them greatly. Their parting shot is their mission statement, said in unison; ‘we believe we can fly in chess and go places; only time will tell.’
Come on kids, let’s just do it!!
Find White’s (S.Karjakin) continuation against Black (V.Laznicka) at the 12th Karpov International, 2011
Solution: 1.Nxd5 exd5 2.Qxf5+ Nf6 3.Bxe7 Kxe7 4.dxe5 Rh8 5.exf6+ wins