Mehul Gohil of Nairobi Chess Club held off a late strong challenge to win the 2016 Nairobi Open Chess Tournament that came to an end at Makini School last weekend.
Mehul had to overcome strong contenders like Ricky Sang, Jackson Ndgewa, Akello Atwoli before drawing with Mathias Ssonko of Uganda in the last round.
This well deserved victory comes shortly after his fine performance in the 2016 Kenya Open held in March 2016 when he came out as joint winner with Ben Nguku. See story on Kenya Open on 2016 Kenya Open.
Mehul Gohil scored 5.5/6 the same as Githinji Hinga but was declared the winner on tie break. They both shared equally the first prize of KES 50,000 and KES 30,000. In joint 3rd place was South Sudanese James Panchol and Ugandan compatriots Mathias Ssonko and CM Haruna Nsubuga.
CM Ben Magana had a disappointing event and ended up in unfamiliar waters in 12th position with only 4 points. He dropped points to James Panchol and CM Bob Bibasa of Uganda.
The event also attracted one player from Zambia – Kiddy Makwaya (2092) who ended up in 10th position with 4.5 points.
In the Ladies section the clear winner was WFM Narcisa Mihevc-Mohr of Slovenia who ended up with 5.5/6. In 2nd place was Ugandan WFM Ivy Amoko with 5/6 and Ampaire Shakira also of Uganda with 4.5/6.
The Kenya National Ladies Champion WFM Riya Shah who won a Bronze medal at the 4.2 Zonals held recently in Dar-es-Salaam did not play in this event. Story on the Zonals can be found here Zonal 4.2.
The second day of this event also saw International Grandmaster Georg Mohr of Slovenia play a simultaneous against 8 junior players.
The grand event was however marred when the organiser’s Nairobi Chess Academy & Club decided to withhold KES 30,000 from Githinji Hinga’s prize. This was done to recover the prize fund for Nairobi Chess Academy & Club who were not paid by Chess Kenya at the end of the 2015 Kenya National League. This retaliatory move does not augur well for Kenyan chess and only serves to make a bad situation even worse.
All attention now moves to the final stage of the Olympiad selection which is supposed to happen in the next few weeks. There are however dark clouds over Kenya’s participation in this highly anticipated event as FIDE has given Kenya until the end of June to clear the debts which run into a staggering Euro 4,479 (almost KES 500,000).
This situation is made even worse by the current wrangles in Chess Kenya where we have the former officials have refused to accept the verdict of the SGM which was held on 23rd March 2016.
This means that Kenya runs a real risk of missing out on the 2016 Chess Olympiad due to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 1st to 14th September 2016.