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September 24, 2018

Chaos in Kenyan Chess as Old Office Booted Out

Solution: 21. Qh5! Threatening Qxh7# and attacking the f7 pawn. The game continued 21. .. h6 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Rg4! Qa5 24. h4! 1-0
Solution: 21. Qh5! Threatening Qxh7# and attacking the f7 pawn. The game continued 21. .. h6 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Rg4! Qa5 24. h4! 1-0

Caption: White to play and find the best move. From the game Anand, Viswanathan (2762) – Svidler, Peter (2757), Candidates 2016 Round 6

The 'petitioners versus Chess Kenya' saga reached its logical conclusion on Sunday evening at a packed Nyayo Stadium boardroom where after insults and chairs were hurled (if you thought chess was anything but a violent game on and off the board, you were hugely mistaken), a vote of no confidence against all six officials of Chess Kenya was passed with an overwhelming majority of 42 votes to 3 by those present at the Special General Meeting.

Interim office-bearers were then elected to take over the running of the federation for six months led by Benard Wanjala (Chairman), John Mukabi (Secretary General) and Gilbert Wandera (Treasurer).

Events then took a dramatic turn on Monday when the now ex-officials continued communicating to chess players as if nothing had changed. A Facebook post announcing the postponement of the Kenya Open tournament was soon followed by another one announcing that it was not, in fact, being postponed but rather that the venue had changed to Stima Club, both posts signed “Joseph Atwoli, Secretary General”.

To add to the confusion, some supporters of the new Chess Kenya office hinted at another tournament possibly being organised over the Easter weekend. I hope good sense prevails in the end and that instead of two separate tournaments, we can have just one that will see maximum participation.

In a more positive development over the same weekend, Makini School, Nairobi played host to the 3rd Kenya National Youth Chess Championships Qualifiers – Nairobi Region that saw over 250 juniors participate. The winners were:

  • Under 8: Abinesh Sudalaimuthu (Boys); Joy Njeri (Girls)
  • Under 10: Aguda Lwanga (Boys); Jia Hiranandani (Girls)
  • Under 12: Anish Sudalaimuthu (Boys); Mercy Ingado (Girls)
  • Under 14: Dev Shah (Boys); WCM Krishi Shah (Girls)
  • Under 16: Kais Mussa (Boys); WCM Riya Shah (Girls)
  • Under 18: Sathya Garesh (Boys); Saloni Karania (Girls)

In all sections, the top 4 players qualified to represent Nairobi in the national finals slated for the weekend of 28-29 May.

Less politics and more chess is the only way we can catch up to Uganda in the next few years.

Solution: 21. Qh5! Threatening Qxh7# and attacking the f7 pawn. The game continued 21. .. h6 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Rg4! Qa5 24. h4! 1-0

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