The tournaments 3rd seed FIDE Master (FM) Steve Ouma garnered 4.5 points out of a possible 5 to emerge triumphant in the inaugural Peter Le Pelley Cup played at the Goan Gymkhana on Saturday afternoon.
As fate would have it, he escaped from an imminent loss against the tournament’s 2nd seed Mehul Gohil in the penultimate round, after the latter inadvertently gifted him a free rook under time pressure and a bit of overconfidence in a clearly won position.
With time ticking away, Mehul tried to push his marauding connected pawns to the finish line, hoping to queen and make amends for his earlier oversight, but Steve applied the common rule of exchanging pieces while ahead by making an exchange sacrifice (giving his rook for a knight) and after a few desperate moves, Mehul threw in the towel and scurried off the table ashen-faced and inevitably deflated.
He was up against the top seed (CM) Peter Gilruth in the final round against whom he secured his only draw which guaranteed him the winners floating shield and a Nakumatt gift voucher worth Sh8,000. The 2015 Kiambu Open champion Joseph Methu finished in second position as Gilruth completed the podium finish in third place out of the 40 players that participated.
The organiser Kim Bhari promised it shall be an annual event while announcing the dates for the 6th Capablanca Cup to be held at Braeburn School, Gitanga Road, Nairobi on February 20- 21. The details will be communicated later, but it will be a good thing if many new faces can show up as it happened on Saturday.
On the same Saturday afternoon, the Chess Kenya (CK) chairman Githinji Hinga led a team that included the PR and Marketing executive Purity Maina and some friends of chess, in making a second visit to Redroof Academy in Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, and were hosted by the chess club, that boasts of slightly over 70 children that train regularly under the leadership of Erik Oyugi.
The club is under the auspices of Sports Outreach Ministries, a non-profit faith based organization that seeks to mentor children in impoverished areas through sports and a feeding program. The SOP Kenya director Pastor Francis Juma, started the chess program in October 2015.
The visit did not escape the ever watchful eye of the legendary 13th World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov who tweeted “A remarkable photo report from Kenya, where amazing people are bringing chess to kids in the most challenged areas”.
Puzzle: Find the best moves for White (A. Pichot) against Black ( J.Pierrot) as played in the 86th ch-ARG 2012.