Home Chess Opinion pieces A story by CM Ben Magana – Part 1

A story by CM Ben Magana – Part 1



We have for the first time published article done by CM Ben Magana who is one of Kenya’s most illustrious chess sons.  His story is done in 2 parts. 

Part 1 covers the 2015 Bungoma Chess Open where Ben was the winner in the Open section.  The Bungoma Open has been covered extensively in this blog and has 3 separate stories.  These include;

The story according to Ben Magana; 

I was unable to make it to Bungoma in time for the Prestige section that had all the big dogs of East Africa, due to unavoidable logistical issues. On Friday night, I boarded a shuttle that whizzed through the Rift Valley darkness, to deliver me to Bungoma at 6am Saturday, 3 hours before the start of Bungoma Championships – Open section. I booked into the quaint Elegant Hotel, which was also the playing venue. I am told that Elegant is an important hotel in Bungoma, having political connections. The bigshot politicians of Kenya often spend the night there when in town.
Ben Magana in red jacket during the 2012 Olympiad Selection at Spice Roots 24th June 2012



Eventually, I won the Open section on tie-break ahead of my fellow CM, Bob Bibasa from Uganda. We each scored 5.5/6, and our mutual game was a cagey affair in which Bob showed excellent piece placement and defensive qualities

Bob Bibasa of Uganda has many friends in Kenya.  In action Migingo Cup 12th February 2012, Goan Gymkhana
My last game was against the rapidly-improving Dr Jacob Onditi, who until this point in the event had a perfect 5/5!! He was half a point ahead of Bob and I going into the last round. According to his open secret, he has been studying my lines in  an effort to eventually beat me in a game. After a lot of thought, I decided to play the Traxler Gambit (the wildest opening I know) in an effort to confuse him. A very unwise choice by me, because the experiment almost backfired on me!” – End.

Dr Jacob Onditi in action during the 3rd Capablanca Cup at Braeburn School, 16th February 2013.