A record 110 junior players converged in Buruburu Phase II in Nairobi last Saturday to participate in the 4th Shepherds Junior School Open Chess Championship, the first junior chess tournament of the year. Players as young as 5 years old competed in the under 8, 10, 12 and 18 age categories for both boys and girls.
The event attracted some of the best junior players in the country, who included CM (Candidate Master) Aravind Vengarai, the fast-rising Timothy Mwabu, Sunil Subramaniam, Gilliane Otieno, Vedhika Sheshadri, Fathima Mohamed and Raisa Wanjiku. It was fun and they made friends, thanks to the management of the school which has embraced the sport as a one of its main extra-curricular activities.
Final ranking for the top three players in each category was as follows:
U8 boys: 1.Nathan Muriuki 2.Gabriel Ray 3.Ryan Gitura; U8 girls: 1.Elain Muturi 2.Abigail Jepkorir 3.Grace Lily; U10 boys: 1.Kyle Mwendwa 2.Reuben Githaiga 3.Rohit Reddy; U10 girls: 1.Vedhika Sheshadri 2.Janice Soimo 3.Serah Kigondu; U12 boys: 1.Kim Caleb 2.Moses Kibet 3.Biko Kerapha; U12 girls: 1.Gilliane Otieno 2.Sharon Nyambura 3.Nikhita Muringe; U18 boys: 1.Aravind Vengarai 2.Timothy Mwabu 3.Sunil Subramaniam; U18 girls: 1.Fathima Mohamed 2.Amina Kiniti 3.Raisa Wanjiku
Makini School won the best school team trophy after amassing 17 points from their best four players ahead of the hosts who were placed second with 15 points and Winka Academy – South C, came in third with 13 points.
Fifteen schools were represented that also included Uthiru Genesis, Samaj,Oshwal Academy, Nairobi Primary, Toddlers Academy-Westlands, Nairobi South Academy, Premier Academy, Faith Ventures Christian Academy-Garden Estate, Beacon of Hope-Ongata Rongai, Consolata Primary -Westlands, All Saints Cathedral-Madaraka Estate, Juja Preparatory and Thomas Burke-Buruburu.
The tournament was played over 5 rounds in all the categories using the Swiss system of pairing with a time control of 45 minutes per player. The chief arbiter was FA Lawrence Kagambi and Samuel Kimani was the tournament director. Waridi Chess Ventures in partnership with Excel Chess Club organized the hugely successful championship.
Last Friday also saw Chess Kenya (CK) launch the Alliance Girls High School chess club at the institution. The CK chair Githinji Hinga, PR and marketing executive Purity Maina and the treasurer Moses Kwereba were joined by Shem Vilembwa who was tasked with training the girls until last Sunday.
With more clubs mushrooming in schools, the critical mass ach achieved will inevitably provide a pool from which emerging talent can be harnessed and nurtured. This should be pursued relentlessly.
Puzzle: How did White (Stuart Conquest) conquer Black (James Adair) in this game played in the 99th ch-GBR 2012?
Solution: 1.Nxf7 Kxf7 2.Bh5 Ke7 3.Bf6+ Kxf6 4.Qxg6+ Ke5 5.f4#