The Bungoma Open came to a magnificent climax today evening when IM Elijah Emojong of Uganda won the Prestige section with a perfect score of 6/6 and with Ben Magana winning the Open section with 5/6.
|IM Elijah Emojong of Uganda makes his move (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
The Prestige section of this event attracted a total of 22 players with the top rated player Arthur Ssegwanyi of Uganda at 2359. A total of seven Ugandans topped the Prestige list and the average rating of this section was a massive 1853 which makes it one of the strongest events in Kenya. Just for comparison purposes the average rating for the 57thNairobi Chess Club Championship was 1514 and at the Daystar Chess tournament it was 1405.
|Patrick Kawuma of Uganda (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
|Chairman of Chess Kenya who ended up with 3/6 (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
Going into the last round was IM Elijah Emojong with 5 points versus South Sudanese National James Madol Panchol who had 4 points. The other 5 boards had Ugandans versus Kenyans in this last crucial round. Were the Kenyans and James Madol Panchol going to send the Ugandans home empty handed? The brave Ugandans put up an amazing fight to win all their games with only Joseph Atwoli drawing with Patrick Kawuma.
In the end IM Elijah Emojong who is rated 2359 defeated James Madol Panchol who is rated 1964 to claim the top prize of KES 30,000 (USD 300). A fine performance by IM Elijah Emojong. Harold Wanyama of Uganda was 2ndwith 5/6 and went home with KES 15,000 (USD 150). IM Arthur Ssegwanyi of Uganda who was the highest rated player at 2359 came out 3rd with 4.5/6 and went home with KES 10,000 (USD 100).
The Ugandans in the end swept 6 out of the top 7 positions with James Madol Panchol coming out 4th with 4/6. James Madol can be proud of his performance in this tough event.
|“Local” GM Brian Kidula about to capture his opponents Queen. (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
|IM Arthur Ssegwanyi of Uganda (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
The Prestige section ran over 3 days (Friday 20thNovember to 22nd November 2015) with a time control of 120 minutes plus 30 seconds from move 1.
The Bungoma Open is one of the designated events for the Olympiad selection and those who do well will earn significant TPR points to boost their chances of making the team.
|Equity Bank Chess Captain Benard Wanjala feeling happy (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
If you thought that the Prestige section was tough the Open section had some formidable names as well. These included Haruna Nsubuga (UG), Bob Bibasa (UG) and evergreen Ben Magana of Kenya. A total of 44 players took part in this section which had 6 rounds run over two days with a time control of 90 minutes per player.
|CM Ben Magana (left) on his way to victory in the Open section (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
Ben Magana was joint winner with Bob Bibasa of Uganda with 5.5/6 but Ben Magana was declared the winner on tie break. They each won KES 11,250 (USD 112). Dr Jacob Onditi from Kisumu and Geoffrey Mulaga who is the Chairman of Eastland’s Chess Club were 3rdand 4th respectively with 5 points each.
|Kenyan chess has beautiful ladies as well – Maureen Njeri (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
|Action (photo credit Duke Micheka)|
The Junior section only had 9 players which was kind of a disappointment. I guess it will take time for chess to sink its roots into the smaller towns in Kenya. This is a great start and as they say – Rome was not built in a day. The winner of this section was Edagiza Aristone who scored 7/9.
|Duke Micheka in suit as Chief Arbiter assisted by Georgina in yellow shirt and organiser Humphrey Nyongesa|
|Open Section Final standing of top 24 players|
We congratulate Bungoma County and organisers Bungoma Chess Club for putting up another fine event. We hope that the other counties in Kenya will emulate this example.