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Chess Super Weekend!


What do you call +30,000 Elo points, 5 Ugandans, 1 American, 1 Dutchman, +40 Kenyan players, bit of church music, bit of live football coverage? Well it is the Super Weekend of 15th & 16thAugust 2015 of the ongoing Kenya National Chess League at the Stima Club, Ruaraka, Nairobi.

The excitement can be captured by this one photo of Brian Adorwa of Nairobi Chess Academy & Club.
Brian Adorwa holds his head in agony!
 A total of 28 matches were played with the usual thrills and spills.  The highlight of the weekend was the highly anticipated El Clásico with highly fancied Equity Bank taking on the last year’s winner KCB Lions Chess Team.  You will recall in one of my earlier articles that Equity had signed on 3 incredibly talented Ugandans for their team led by Arthur Ssegwanyi (2,357), Elijah Emojong (2,283) and Patrick Kawuma (2,269).  This was in response to KCB signing on Harold Wanyama (2,273) and Ivy Amoko (1,829).

Equity (left) v KCB


Peter Gilruth (right) & Mehul Gohil both of Nairobi Chess Club


Ivy Amoko of KCB


Arthur Ssegwanyi (Equity) holds his head


Patrick Kawuma of Equity


KCB players Philip Singe & Steve Ouma in team colours

This match did not disappoint the many chess fans present on a chilly Saturday morning.  Many  anticipated that Equity with a combined Elo of 10,548 almost 350 points above KCB Elo of 10,199 would hand KCB their first and painful defeat. Ivy Amoko (KCB) defeated Gwen Jumba (Equity), while Steve Ouma (KCB) drew with Ken Omollo (Equity),  Ben Magana (KCB) lost to Elijah Emojong (Equity) and Harold Wanyama (KCB) lost to Arthur Ssegwanyi (Equity).

The show stopper was really when Philip Singe (KCB FIDE rating 1,961) defeated highly fancied Patrick Kawuma (Equity  FIDE rating 2,269) in a time scramble.  Philip Singe repaid KCB Chess Captain trust with a vital win that ensured that the match against Equity ended with a draw of 2.5 points each.  This now means that the 2015/16 National League title is open between the these two powerful and high spending teams.
The unfortunate bit is that we are unable to give you the Singe v Kawuma game at the moment.  We hope to put this up later.
Collins Young of Checkmates Chess Club
On Sunday Equity Bank crushed Nairobi Chess Club 4-1 with the only win coming from Peter Gilruth (2,132) who defeated Arthur Ssegwanyi (2,357) in a tough 4 hour encounter.
Some of the charming participants
The venue for the matches were moved from Nairobi Gymkhana to Stima Club due to a logistical problem that arose when Nairobi Gymkhana Chess Team said that they were not yet ready to commence playing in the League.  Nairobi Gymkhana Chess Team are the “New Kid on the Block” and coached by veteran chess player Larry Kagambi.  The team is apparently made up of a number of juniors who will be incredibly strong if they continue with their usual chess training program every Saturday.
View of the hall on 16th August 2015


Nairobi Chess Club v Equity


Arthur Ssegwanyi of Equity
Joseph Maigua carefully “castles” with his thermos!

This weekend also saw Mehul Gohil who plays Board 2 for Nairobi Chess Club taking part in his first League game.  Nairobi Chess Club team mates were anticipating that Mehul Gohil who has been banned from playing in National events by Chess Kenya would not be allowed to play.  In the end these fears were unfounded as there was no problem when he sat down and made his first move.  There was a significant sign of relief when this happened.

The League takes a break this weekend to pave way for the prestigious 57th Nairobi Chess Club Championship set for 22nd & 23rd August 2015 at the Braeburn School, Gitianga Road Nairobi.  Defending Champion Larry Kagambi has confirmed that he is taking part.  Other confirmed entries include Mehul Gohil, Paras Gudka and Githinji Hinga.