Curtains fell on the national league as KCB retained their title after wading off a strong challenge from Equity, who had recruited 3 of Uganda’s national team players, but yet again finished second.
Though champions-designate with 3 matches to go, KCB had to wait until last weekend to be confirmed winners, after the last matches were played at Stima Club, Nairobi. They will be rewarded with a trophy plus Sh100,000 at the awards ceremony to be held on December 13 at Strathmore University on the backdrop on the national championship.
Undoubtedly the most decorated club in Kenya’s chess history, KCB boasted some of the best players in the country, with 6 of its members CM Ben Magana, FM Steve Ouma, Phillip Singe, Jackson Kamau, WFM Rose Wabuti and Purity Maina having played in the Olympiad. Uganda’s WFM Ivy Amoko, East Africa’s queen of chess, also turned out for the star-studded outfit, alongside her compatriot FM Harold Wanyama
Equity seemed poised to wrestle back the title they last won 2 seasons ago from KCB after they drew their mid-season head-to-head encounter, which was arguably billed as the title decider, but were done in by lacklustre performances that saw them drop crucial points against Kenyatta University and Nairobi Chess Academy and Club (NACHA).
17 teams participated in the 6-month grueling league in a round robin format in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisii. Debutants NACHA took the 2nd runners-up position that will see them pocket Sh30,000 as the 1st runners-up Equity walk away with Sh50,0000. The best performers across the 5 boards will also be feted with trophies, cash prizes and gift vouchers for the juniors.
Meanwhile, the FIDE rated national championship takes place from this Friday to Sunday and is expected to be hotly contested over 8 rounds with each player having 90 minutes to complete the game. It will be divided into the open, ladies and junior categories. The open winner will get Sh20,000 with the 2nd finisher receiving Sh15,000 as the 3rd and 4th placed players pocket Sh10,000 and Sh5,000 respectively.
The ladies champion will be awarded Sh10,000 as the 1st and 2nd runners-up pocket Sh7,000 and Sh3,000 apiece. The winners shall also get trophies and the top 3 juniors for both the girls and boys will be awarded trophies, medals and certificates.
And team of 25 juniors from Kenya is currently playing in the African Youth Chess Championship in Lusaka, Zambia that runs from the Deecember 5-13 December. 223 players from 12 African countries are participating.
Puzzle: Find the best moves for Black (Hou Yifan) against White (Bu Xiangzhi) as played in the Chinese Championship 2012
Solution: 1…Nf4 2.dxe5 Ne2+ Kb1 Rxd1#