Excitement is building up in the small but vibrant Kenyan chess community for one of the biggest chess events in 2016.
The 2016 Nairobi Open will be held over the weekend of 7th & 8th May 2016 and will have a massive KES 150,000 (USD 1,500) prize fund with the winner going home with KES 50,000 (USD 500) in the Open section and KES 30,000 (USD 300) in the Ladies section.
Event registration is underway, to register click Register
The event which is the 2nd edition will be held at Makini School, Riara Road, Nairobi and has been organised by the Nairobi Chess Academy and sponsored by the African Chess Confederation.
The 2015 edition was won by Kenneth Omolo scoring 5.5 points out of a possible 6. In second place with the same number of points put inferior tie-break was former national champion CM Ben Magana. Four players, Mehul Gohil, CM Haruna Nsubuga (Uganda), Ronald Lwebuga (Sierra Leone) and Martin Njoroge tied in third place on 5 points apiece.
Omolo and Magana equally shared the combined first prize of KES 30,000 and second prize of KES 25,000 to each pocket KES 22,500 with the four third placed players sharing the 3rd prize of KES 10,000 with each taking home KES 2,500. WFM Ivy Amoko (Uganda) garnered 3.5 points to win the 1st prize in the ladies category of KES 20,000, with Sanjana Deshpande managing 3 points to finish in second position as did Daphne Mwikali and Stephanie Mumbi who were declared joint third finishers. The prizes for second and third place were KES 10,000 and KES 7,000 respectively.
The winners in the junior category were: Boys U18 Moses Maina 5pts; U16 FM Pendyala Ritvik 6pts; U14 Sumit Deshpande 5pts; U12 Timothy Mwambu 5pts; U10 Anish Sukumar 4pts; U8 Odongo Lwanga 3pts and in the Girls U18 WCM Krishi Shah 3pts; U16 Sita Shah 4pts; U14 Sravya Vadrevu 4pts; U12 Gilliane Otieno 4pts; U10 Fathima Mohamed 4pts; U8 Tabitha Imani 4pts.
The closing ceremony of the 2015 Nairobi Open event was attended by Mr Lewis Ncube the President of the African Chess Confederation and Ann Othoro who was the Nairobi County Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Cooperative Development. The closing ceremony was also used as an opportunity to distribute the 2014/15 Kenya National League prizes.
This year’s edition is expected to attract over 200 players who will be lured by the attractive prize fund. In the 2015 edition about 150 players participated in the various categories.
Contenders for this year’s edition include Peter Gilruth, CM Ben Magana and Mehul Gohil. The time control is 90 minutes per player and this will lock out top Ugandan players like FM Harold Wanyama, Arthur Ssegwanyi and Elijah Emojong who are all rated above 2200. My strong suspicion is that a large contingent of other equally strong Ugandan players will travel to Nairobi to grab part of the prize fund.
For the first time in Kenya a FIDE Trainers seminar will also be held from 6th to 8th May 2016 which will go a long way increase the training capacity within the country. The trainer will be IGM Georg Mohr from Slovenia. He has represented Slovena in the 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 Olympiads and is rated 2459.
It is also very likely that this event will for the first time in Kenya have live transmission of the action of board 1. Terrian Chess Academy (Terrian Chess Academy) is in discussion with the organisers of the Nairobi Open to make this happen which is expected to generate a great excitement in the region.
Those who wish to register for the event should do so via this link; Registration Form for the 2016 Nairobi Open.