Home Chess News A summary of the year 2015 for Kenyan Chess

A summary of the year 2015 for Kenyan Chess

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The year 2015 will go down as a key milestone in Kenyan chess.  This was the year that Kenyan chess blossomed with a huge number of events both locally and internationally.  The number of FIDE rated has also increased dramatically as Chess Kenya has gone out of its way to promote rated events.
One might wonder what has happened in Kenya to see such a massive change.  There has been a big change in mindset amongst chess organisers, players and Chess Kenya officials.   Chess Kenya has encouraged chess activity by providing logistical and moral support for almost all events.

In the past one had to deal with an extremely bureaucratic and lethargic Chess Kenya to get

anything done.  This office has been quick to realise that the only way chess can flourish is by creating an enabling environment and let chess organisers do what they do best which is to organise events.
Another big catalyst has been Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa which has been incredibly supportive of Kenyan chess.  The Millionaire Satellite tournament held at KICC, Nairobi is the first thing that  comes to mind. We have many reports on this fantastic event in this blog and include;
Poster for the Millionaire Chess satellite event in Nairobi
Organisations like Terrian Chess Academy, Nairobi Chess Club & Academy and Waridi Ventures have continued to promote the game amongst the youth which can only mean one thing in the future – more chess.
Another organisation that need special mention in this summary for 2015 is Prox Chess House with their incredible support for chess activities (sponsoring events and providing equipment) and most importantly taking chess to the disadvantaged in the small dusty town of Voi, Kenya.  
Prox Chess House event poster
Other organisations include the Kenya Bankers who organise the annual Inter Bank Chess Competition and the Kenya Universities Sports Associations which organsied the 2015 KUSA games & which included chess in Bondo University.  See 2015 KUSA Games
Kasparov Chess Foundation was again instrumental in helping Kenya to send a team for the 40th year TPLF anniversary event in Ethiopia.  The Kasparov Chess Foundation also sponsored the KCB Bank v Rwanda event in February 2015 to enable the Rwandan chess player obtain their FIDE ratings.
Kenyan FIDE arbiters were on duty with Purity Maina at the 25th World Senior Chess Championship in Acqui Terme in Italy (see 25th World Seniors Championship and 25th World Senior Report 2) and Duke Micheka at the Rwanda Chess Championship in Kigali (see 2015 Rwanda Chess Championship).
This year’s Kenya National League was professionally run and this augurs well for the future of this prestigious event.  Equity Bank Ltd sponsored the league to the tune of KES 150,000 (USD 1,500) which represents one of the biggest sponsorship deals for Kenyan chess in many years.
Poster for the Kenya National League
This year also saw a huge amount of chess activity outside Nairobi and included the Kiambu Open, Kisumu Open, Bungoma Open and the Mombasa Open which attracted many of the top players in the region.
Stories on the Kisumu Open can be found here 2015 Kisumu Open, on the Bungoma Open – see  2015 Bungoma Open and Elijah Emojong wins Bungoma Open.

More on the Mombasa Open can be found here – 2015 Mombasa Open.

The Kiambu Open will remain an iconic and historic event in Kenyan chess as this attracted a  340 players which is an all-time record for attendance.   See 2015 Kiambu Open

Poster for the Kiambu Open

A number of players took part in international events and included both Ben Magana and Ken Omolo taking part in the Zonals in Kampala and strong contingent for the Tanzania Open held in Dar es Salaam.  Kenya bagged two bronze medals in the 2015 African Youth Chess Championship thanks to Sanjana Deshpande and Aravind Vengarai.  See Kenya bags 2 bronze medals

Clement Miheso made history when he took part in the World Championship for the disabled held in Dresden, Germany.  (See Miheso at World Championship).
We currently have two players Moses Maina and Joyce Nyaruai who are taking part in the 2015 Africa Junior Chess Championship in Mahe, Seychelles.
Another highlight of 2015 was the visit by GM Nigel Short to Nairobi during the 2015 Kenya National Rapids Championship.  I have met other Grandmasters who are dour and very difficult to engage in conversation.  Well GM Nigel Short is probably one of the most interesting personalities that I have met and one who can keep you very entertained with his stories.  If fact if I was a global businessman then I would appoint GM Nigel Short as my Director of Corporate Affairs and CSR!
GM Nigel Short doing a simultaneous at Goan Gymkhana
This story cannot be complete with mentioning one of the global supporters of chess who was in Nairobi.  She is non other than the charming Amy Lee from Canada and the sponsor of the Millionaire Chess event in 2014 and 2015.
From left Githinji Hinga Chairman Chess Kenya, Graham Jurgensen KCFA & Amy Lee of Millionaire Chess
 I have made a vain attempt to list down the events held in 2016 but this I know is not complete.  I have also included a sample of posters from the many events at the end of the story.
An attempt to list all our events in 2015

Many thanks goes to the Government of Kenya for their financial support for chess.  This acts a powerful force to encourage children and adults to focus more time and effort on chess.

Special mention must be made of our media friends starting with Buckley Fedha of KBC Sports and the other TV stations that support chess.  We should not forget Brian Kidula of the Star Newspaper for his weekly article Chess in Black and White, Para Gudka of www.pgonchess.com, Bryan Yonga of Daily Nation & Gilbert Wandera of Standard Newspapers.

We now await with much anticipation and excitement and believe that 2016 will bring forth much more activity.

We take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Happy New Year and thank you for the support for this blog site.  Your comments and support are truly appreciated.