Chess players will this weekend gear up for the first event of 2016 when they converge at the iconic Goan Gymkhana Club, Ngara Road, Westlands for the inaugural Peter Le Pelley Cup.
The late Peter Le Pelley was born in Kenya and was a graduate of Oxford university where he played chess. He later rose to become a prominent Nairobi lawyer with the firm Hamilton Harrison Mathew. He was a former chairman of Nairobi Chess Club and a very keen chess player. More on the life of Mr Le Pelley who passed away on 11th March 2010 can be found here –Peter Le Pelley Obituary Revised.
The initiative to honour the former chairman came from Warren Pollock who is a current Nairobi Chess Club committee member and is expected to an annual event in future.
My earliest recollection of Peter Le Pelley was when Kenya played Uganda in a well publicised match at the Hiton Hotel. Peter was playing board 1 for Kenya and he was using his personal wooden set with white and red pieces. This was what the Sunday Nation newspaper said the following day.
I then met him in his office when I had to see him for a legal matter when I was working at a bank in the 1990’s. The meeting was very brief and I hardly had any time to chat to him about chess.
Many of you will recall that he was a commissioner during the infamous Goldenberg inquiry between 2002 and 2005. This scandal remains one of those massive frauds that were so incredibly ingenious in its planning and execution and which involved the export of gold from Kenya. Those who wish to read more about this story should check out Goldenberg Scandal on Wikipedia. This reminds me of an old cartoon that I did during that time.
This event will be run over 5 rounds and with a time control of only 25 minutes. There are a number of new players who have registered and amongst the top contenders for this keenly awaited event are Peter Gilruth, Steven Ouma and Mehul Gohil.
We will bring you live updates on our Facebook Page – Kenya Chess Masala during the event.