The first tournament of this year takes place this Saturday at Goan Gymkhana Club, Ngara road near the National Museum of Kenya roundabout, home to the oldest chess club in Kenya, Nairobi Chess Club (NCC).
Organised under the auspices of NCC by renowned chess events organiser and administrator Kim Bhari, who also doubles up as the chairman of NCC, the one day Peter Le Pelley Cup is in honour the former club’s chairman who was a very strong player.
Already, the available 36 slots have been filled up and this 5-round Swiss System accelerated pairing event promises to as exciting as it gets. Each player will have 25 minutes within which to complete the game. The winner and runners-up will walk away with Nakumatt gift vouchers worth Sh5,000 and Sh2,000 respectively, as the best junior U14 will get one worth Sh1,000.
Strathmore University has literally taken up a third of the entries, perhaps signaling their intention to dominate in the universities categories this year, as they have been playing second fiddle to Kenyatta University. They do boast of a number of upcoming players and a few seasoned ones that can actually go ahead and cause ripples in the hitherto almost predictable hierarchy.
And following up on my two previous columns, I should hasten to add that playing in as many tournaments as possible is a sure way of improving in chess. This is because only in a real game situation can one gauge their strength and identify weaknesses that need to be worked on.
Last weekend, a university student pursuing pharmacy visited our academy desirous to enroll with us and improve on his game, but at the same time ironically questioned what really is there to be taught!? Incidentally, a 9-year-old boy that has been under my tutelage walked in for his training session and I asked him to educate the student on matters chess.
He was amazed and starting this weekend, he will be training with us. There is so much to learn every day because life never stops teaching us and we need to be willing to receive, even if it is an iota of information, because that leads to knowledge.
This is indeed the time for armchair chess players to come out and be counted on the board. With a number of tournaments lined up beginning next month, there is no way one can complain of a dearth of combat zones.
Puzzle: Find the best moves for White (B.Kovanova) against Black (E.Ovod) in the 61st Russian Championship, Higher League in 2011.