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Chess Kenya Embroilled In Scandal


You will recall my earlier post titled;


2014 Proud Kenya National Champions – Ms Sanjana Deshpande & Mehul Gohil pose with their trophies. Photo credit to  – S. Deshpande


Ms Sanjana receives her trophy while a beaming Chairman Githinji Hinga stands behind

It is now apparent that was only Part 1 and the Part 2 turned out to be much more juicier and exposed the terrible attitudes that some officials and players had.

The bombshell landed on 4th February 2015 when this email came in;

Reaction was swift on Facebook from irate chess players and some supporting the move.  The person who was affected by all this was Ms Sanjana Deshpande who won the event with a clear 6.5/8 points. My logic was simple and to the point.

1. Why allow non citizens but residents to play if you are not going to be fair?  Why waste their time in the first place.

2. Children under 18 years do not chose which country to live in and hence they should be allowed to play and win National events if they are residents.

3. Stopping non citizens from winning our events is detrimental to our chess and it chases away the very players that we need to support chess in this country.

4. My view was that this was a blatant racist move.

5. This point only came up when Kasparov Chess Foundation were going to sponsor a team from Kenya to attend the “40th Year TPLF Anniversary Chess Tournament”.  If there was no trip then non of this nonsense would have come up.

The Facebook Page – “Kenya Chess Central” was a beehive of activity as claims and counter claims were proposed by all and sundry.  Chess certainly was in the news but for the wrong reason.

In the end the xenophobic officials had their way.  Sanjana’s father Satish Deshpande decided that enough is enough and went and banked the cash prize into the Chess Kenya bank account and returned the trophy.

The 2014 men’s Champion – Mehul Gohil provoked a storm when he declared that he was renouncing his title as well in support.