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Braeburn School & The History Of Chess

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I am not sure of how many of you know the fairly tale of ‘Rumplestiltskin’?   I guess if you do not know then you can use www.google.com.  Hey this is a chess blog and what is Rumplestiltskin doing here you might wonder.  Well I thought I will tell you a story of chess and one of the premier schools in Nairobi – Braeburn School on Gitanga Road.

I went to buy ticket for the pantomime and which brings me to this blog post.

In 1993 during the Easter weekend the Kenya Chess Association held the Kenya Open at the Braeburn School.  I did not play in it as I was helping with the organising (I was not the main organier just one of the assistants).  What an event.

I have enclosed a photo which shows part of the glamour. I have shown an extract of one the players Mehul Gohil who took part in the event.  This gives you an idea of what it was like to be there.

“I stumbled upon some very old photos which I didn’t know I had. Took photos of them with a digicam. They are attached. From my very first chess tournament. The 1993 Kenya Open held over Easter. Still remains the most memorable chess event in my life. It had everything. One of the pics shows me with the junior TZ contingent…at the back of this pic is a girl in a bluish jacket…that was the Femme Fatale I had once spilled the ‘sordid details’ on. The pic was taken right after lunch on Day 2 when me and Femme Fatale started getting friendly. 

Needless to say, Day 3 of the tournament then turned out to be ‘magical’. Event was big, and long…lasted 4 whole heavenly days. Ahh! Those were the days!!!  I pity today’s juniors who cannot have such special moments when everyone…all the legends, the seniors, the chess tourists, the rest of africa, TZ and UG…when everyone was thrown into the same tournament together. Maybe someday it will change…”

I have attached some photos from Mehul to give you an idea of what it was like in those days.  Of course I have not asked for permission to use these photos!

Mehul Gohil (left) with orange and white markings on shirt waiting for the start of the next round.
Mehul Gohil (left) with orange and white markings on shirt waiting for the start of the next round.

 

Mehul Gohil in his usual (well in those days) leather jacket takes on Tanzania chess player for a quick blitz game
Mehul Gohil in his usual (well in those days) leather jacket takes on Tanzania chess player for a quick blitz game

View of the hall. Who is that guy walking around with bushy hair?
View of the hall. Who is that guy walking around with bushy hair?

Mehul Gohil again takes on unknown player
Mehul Gohil again takes on unknown player
1993 Kenya Open at Braeburn School.
1993 Kenya Open at Braeburn School.

The winner of that year’s event was Emmauel Kabuye who won this event a total of 5 times.

The Kenya Open has not been held for a number of years which is really sad. The Ugandans have the East African Chess Championship but that event is small and the prize fund is not usually announced.  I really do hope that in 2012 the Kenya Open can return to Nairobi with big prize funds and lots fun…………

Sorry going back to why I started this story. ‘Rumplestiltskin‘ was great fun.  There is one more performance on Saturday 3rd December and another one on 4th December 2011.  If you want to have a good laugh then head down that direction.

Walking around at interval brought back memories of all the fun we had at Braeburn School during the Kenya Open.  Let us see what happens in 2012…….