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November 15, 2018

CK to use national show to select All Africa Games team

Ricky Sang during a recent championship / COURTESY
Ricky Sang during a recent championship / COURTESY
Chess Kenya will use next month’s national championship to select a team to the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco.
The event which will mark the 40th edition of the national show will be staged at Parklands Sports Club from December 12-16. The team to the Africa show will comprise five players in both the boys and girls categories.
This year’s event, which will be the climax of the 2018 season, has a record Sh400,000 prize money for the winners and is therefore expected to provide fierce competition. There are a total of ten prizes in Open section with the winner walking away with Sh100,000. The ladies will play in a separate category and will also have the same number of winners.
The reigning national champion Benjamin Magana is expected to face stiff competition from his rivals, who have been training for the event since June.
The main opposition is likely to come from his teammate Joseph Methu, Gohil Mehul and Jackson Kamau. Other contenders in open section include Githinji Hinga, Dr. Victor Ngani, Steve Ouma and Nathan Ateka. The reigning ladies champion Joyce Nyaruai faces an uphill task as she seeks to defender title. She is expected to face off with Sasha Mwongeli of Technical University of Kenya and Lucy Wanjiru from University of Nairobi.
Mwongeli has been on the rise since staging the best performance during World Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia with 7/8 score on her debut and was awarded the coveted woman FIDE master title. Wanjiru not only pulled good results on her debut at the Olympiad but she is also the top lady in the league currently. Other top contenders in the ladies’ category include Gloria Jumba (KCB) and Daphne Mwikali (Equity Bank).
The tournament will also be used to select a five-player team (men and women) for next year’s All Africa Games to be held in October in Morocco. The national championship will act as the first phase of selection process, where top the 20 players will proceed to second phase.
The tournament will also be used to select top Under-20 Juniors to represent the country at the Africa Junior Championship in Uganda from December 28 to January 4. The top junior (boy and girl) will be fully sponsored to battle it out with Africa’s finest in a bid to qualify for 2019 World Junior Championship.
“We expect a very huge turn out this year since we have increased prize fund. There is also huge interest to qualify for All Africa Games and this will make it one of the toughest event this year. Chess Kenya are looking forward to make this year’s event the biggest on the calendar now and in future,” said Bernard Wanjala, CK President.
The tournament will run for nine rounds and each player will be given 90 minutes plus 30 seconds each game. Registration deadline is December 10 and participants in the open category will Sh1,500 while Juniors and ladies will pay Sh1,000 each.
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