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A Kenyan chess hero


This is my first post for 2016 and thought that it would be appropriate to cover the story of what I can call a Kenyan chess hero or more correctly an unheard Kenyan chess hero!

I am talking about University of Nairobi Chess Captain Victor Ongono.  Victor was covered in an earlier blog as he was kind enough to provide us with photos of the 2015 KUSA Games held at Bondo University in late last year.  See earlier story on this blog on:2015 KUSA Games at Bondo University.

 Victor Ongono poses with Cecilia Nyambura
Victor Ongono poses with Cecilia Nyambura

Victor is the first born of 6 siblings learnt how to play chess while in Kericho Township Primary School in Kericho.

Kericho Township Primary School
Kericho Township Primary School
Kericho Township Primary School from inside

Kericho is the  capital of Kericho County, in Western Kenya which is the centre of Kenya’s tea industry.  A charming and beautiful town with its lush green tea plantations.

The lush tea farms of Kericho.
The lush tea farms of Kericho.
View of Kericho town
Another view of Kericho town

The reason Victor is my hero for 2016 is that he has now set up Kericho Chess Club which meets at the Kericho Youth Centre.

Kericho Youth Centre
Kericho Youth Centre

On 28th December 2015 they organised their first tournament and we are absolutely delighted to give you this historic report.  It is out of a small acorn that a great oak tree grows!

Kericho town's first ever chess tournament
Kericho town’s first ever chess tournament

The event attracted a total of 12 players which included 3 ladies.

Another photo from this historic event
Another photo from this historic event

I believe that this event might be small but it will blossom in the years to come.  It all takes time and effort.

The final standing
The final standing
Another view of Kericho
Kericho town has potholes the same size as Nairobi!

We once again congratulate Victor Ongono for taking the initiative of promoting chess in his home town rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

We also hope this story inspires others in Kenya to take these important baby steps to promote the game rather than just waiting for Chess Kenya.

I do not know how many of you will recall the famous political slogan of the former President Moi’s regime when KANU was the sole political party – “KANU ni baba na mama” (KANU is the father and mother).  I think this made many Kenyans think that one must wait for initiative from above for things to happen.

The good news is that Kenya has moved on and it is youngsters like Victor who prove it.

We thought that it is appropriate that we end this story with a poem by Felix Dennis which is titled “Unsung Heroes” Unsung Heroes