Home Chess Tournaments 2015 African Youth Chess Championship – further update

2015 African Youth Chess Championship – further update


You will recall my earlier story about Kenya winning two bronze medals at the just concluded 2015 African Youth Chess Championship held in Lusaka, Zambia.  This event was covered by two stories on this blog;



The two bronze medals that we won was meant to be the end of a nice story.  This was all shattered when last week’s Standard newspaper carried a story “Chess medals at last – But Sanjana faces disciplinary action over fees row”.  My initial reaction was – “Oh dear, do we need another blazing row”.

I cannot find the story online and do not want to run into trouble by posting the story here.  
I have done a bit of digging up and found out that the following players/parents/coaches were summoned by Chess Kenya to a disciplinary hearing on 17th December 2015 at the YWCA, Nairobi.
Sanjana Deshpande
Sumit Deshpande
Sandhya Deshpande
Moses Andiwoh
Germano Mwabu
Gilbert Wandera
James Mwangi

I found the letter that they received to be intimidating and reminiscent of the bygone Soviet era?

Letter from Chess Kenya
The interesting point to note is that they are being summoned due to non-payment of the administration and CIS (Chess in Schools) fees to Chess Kenya.  I had thought that they were being summoned due to the fact that they took part in the 2015 African Youth Chess Championship without going through Chess Kenya.
I still cannot figure out why Sanjana & Sumit who are both minors were summoned.  

Sanjana Deshpande in action during the RYA Chess Tournament held at Sikh Union 29th November 2014
Sumit Deshpande in action during the RYA Chess Tournament held at Sikh Union 29th November 2014

My source indicates that only Moses Andiwo attended the hearing and so far I do not have any further information.
Moses Andiwoh with cap during the 2013 RYA Chess tournament at Sikh Union on 25th May 2013
The additional fees that were supposed to be paid include Euro 129 (for Chess in Schools) and Euro 86 for CK administration fee which totals to Euro 215 or roughly KES 23,000.
This drama in my opinion is really unnecessary and just drags our beloved game into another quagmire which we really do not need.
This is a very difficult situation and one really needs the wisdom of Solomon to work it out.  
On one hand Chess Kenya needs cash to fund its operations.  The membership income is small and erratic at best.  Corporate sponsors are far and few as chess is not really seen as a spectator sports.  In this regard charging a fee to take additional children for the event is in my opinion fair.  My only gripe is that the fee is on the high side at Euro 215 as the child still then has to pay for flights & accommodation, registration fees of approximately Euro 1,300.
We are now talking of children and no parent in his/her right mind will send their kid on an overseas trip all alone.  This means that the parents have to pay for the flights and accommodation with comes to a further Euro 1,200.
Total cost is approximately Euro 2,500 (or KES 270,000).  Adding a further Euro 215 x 2 = Euro 430 seems a bit too much for parents.  I think Chess Kenya needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a much fairer system taking into account the needs to fund its own expenditure and the financial pressure that the parents face.

To complicate matters even further Chess Kenya has not produced any financial statements for the past 2-3 years and hence there is reluctance on the part of parents to pay the required fees.

On the other hand parents need to understand that this was a FIDE event and member federation were invited.  This means that players and accompanying parents/coaches MUST be registered via the federation.  This point cannot be negotiated at all as one cannot gate crash a party!
I have requested but not obtained a summary of how much income Chess Kenya earned from the 2015 African Youth Chess Championship.  If all the 30 additional players/accompanying people  paid the fee then Chess Kenya would have earned approximately Euro 6,450 or approximately KES 700,000.  With this kind of money it would go a long way in helping the federation run its events and promote the game to the various counties.
It is my sincere hope that Chess Kenya and the affected parents can sit down and sort this out without the need for intimidation tactics which only serves to alienate parents and sponsors.  We are after all a very small vibrant community of players, parents, officials and coaches.