The inaugural Mombasa Inter-School Chess Championship took place on Saturday 30th September at the imposing Oshwal Academy. A total of 60 kids from 7 schools took part in this prestigious event that was successfully organised by the Lighthouse Chess Club.
This came at the end of a 3-day training of chess trainers course conducted by FIDE Instructor (FI) Brian Kidula of Terrian Chess Academy, who also doubled up as the Tournament Director as Gideon Kirwa was the Chief Arbiter assisted by David Ikhabi, Eastmond Mwenda and Allan Arongoey of Arongoey Photography, the official photographers.
Lighthouse Chess Club’s director Judy Kiragu, led a team comprising Monica Dama in pulling off an exemplary event that saw kids drawn from Oshwal Academy, Aga Khan Pimary, Mikoroshoni Primary, Nyali Primary, Braeburn International (all from Mombasa) and Logos Christian School from Nairobi competing in the U18 and U8 categories.
The playing hall was reminiscent of a top world or continental event arena, with sufficient room for the participants to engage in the battle of the minds game, as their parents and guardians watched from a designated area, with little inference from the organisers who also had their own working station.
The glittering trophies and chess boards with carry-bags on display seemed to motivate the players, as several of them were spotted eyeing them in between rounds, as one could hear their labored whispers, almost in unison as if it was a rehearsed choral line: “I want to win this one!”
After 5 rounds of play with each player having 30 minutes to complete the game, Parameswaran Gautham (Oshwal) obliterated the field in the U18 boy’s category by clinching first place unbeaten, having collected the maximum 5 points on offer, thus winning a trophy. Ramesh Deven (Aga Khan) took home the 1st runners-up trophy on 5 points as well but separated from Gautham on tie break, pipping his teammate Vijay Chiraq to 3rd position on 4 points, thus winning a chess bag.
In the girls U18 category, it was all smiles for Hassan Pendo (Mikoroshoni), when she amassed 4 points to take the winner’s trophy as Sajjid Maryam (Aga Khan) came in 2nd on 2.5 points and Patricia Nyevu (Mikoroshoni) on 2 points finished 3rd to pick a trophy and chess board respectively.
Shubh Shah (Oshwal) had a perfect score of 6/6 points in the boys U8 category to lift the number 1 trophy leaving his compatriots Riah Shah and Ruhan Shah tying on 4 points apiece to complete a clean sweep of the podium places, with each bagging a chessboard.
Aga Khan’s Zahra Abdulkadir garnered 4 points to take the girl’s U8 category winner’s trophy, as Braeburn’s Samira Shahbal (2 points) and Yvonne Mwashe (1 point) won chessboards for their efforts as they finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The hosts Oshwal School emerged triumphant in the school’s category to add another trophy to their cabinet, as Aga Khan Primary came in 2nd and Logos Christian School from Nairobi clinched the 3rd spot to complete the podium finish and the trophies table. The visibly elated head teacher of Oshwal Ms Jackline Aminga, thanked all the participants for their sterling display of chess mastery, even as she extolled the virtues and benefits of the noble game.
Certificates of merit and participation were awarded to the players, plus the trainees, and attached on each one of them was an invitation to the first edition of the Lighthouse Junior Open Chess tournament to be held from 30th November – 3rd December 2017.
The regional neighboring countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda have already received their invitations to this 9 round event where each player will have 60 minutes plus an additional 30 seconds per move from move one to complete the game. The categories to be competed for will be the U8, U10, U12, U14 and U18 for both boys and girls, where the top three finishers in each category will get a trophy, and there will also be one for the overall East Africa Champion!
Story and report done by Brian Kidula CEO Terrian Chess Academy.
All photos by Allan Arongoey of Arongoey Photography,