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Ben Magana wins 2015 Eastland’s Open

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Ben Magana wins 2015 Eastland’s Open

This weekend of 28th & 29thNovember 2015 saw more action for chess players when the annual Eastland’s Open took place at the Ofafa Jericho Community Hall in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
Poster for the 2015 Eastland's Open.
Poster for the 2015 Eastland’s Open.
The organisers had hope that the FIDE rated event would attract at least 60 players.  However at the end of the day about 20 players registered for it which was a great disappointment to the organisers.  It appears that a bit of political noise on the chess front may have affected the turnout of this event.
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
A junior tournament was held over the same weekend at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club might have affected the entries.  The current rainy weather may have played a part.
View of the hall of the 2015 Eastland’s Open (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
View of the hall of the 2015 Eastland’s Open (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Moses Andiwoh the winner of the 2014 Eastland’s Open had confirmed that he was not going to defend his title.
Hon Benson Mutura, Asille Trading Company (Mr Neel Shah), Chess Kenya and Kim Bhari were the sponsors of the KES 38,000 prize fund.
Nice to see many new faces (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Nice to see many new faces (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
The winner of this event was the evergreen Ben Magana who garnered 5.5/6 followed by Jonah Langat and Thomas Nzioki both with 5/6.

Sponsors does a disappearing act

The sad thing about the 2015 Eastland’s Chess Open is that one of the sponsors of this event did not honour his pledge leaving the poor organisers stranded like an ‘isolated pawn’.  It is just so annoying that some people make big promises to sponsor chess events and then do a disappearing act or promise to pay later.
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
Action photos (photo credit to Terence Chazima).
The organisers have pledged to honour their commitments to the prize winner within a week.
Some commentators have been critical about this debacle on the cash prizes including myself.  The negative side is that it tarnishes the name of chess and only makes it more difficult to attract sponsorship.  The flip side of this is that we had a tournament in that part of the city and it was encouraging to see new faces some of whom were youngsters.  It is from these type of events being held in different neighbourhoods that the game can flourish.
We hope other organisers can take note and host small events to promote this fantastic game.
Chairman of Eastlands Chess Club - Geoffrey Mulaga facing a tough position in the 2009 Olympiad selection tournament.
Chairman of Eastlands Chess Club – Geoffrey Mulaga facing a tough position in the 2009 Olympiad selection tournament. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Past winners of the Eastland’s Open

2012 – Unknown
2013 – Steve Ouma
2014 – Moses Andiwoh