Southfield Mall Open Blitz Championship – Report by Eric Lutomia
The inaugural Southfield Mall Open Blitz Chess Championship took place on Sunday 17th of February 2019. The event was enormously spectacular courtesy of Terrian Chess Academy. Over 50 players attended the event and, social media played a huge role.
The choice of the venue was charming as the mall provided an excellent venue for the battle of wits. Terrian Chess Academy did an excellent job once again.
Players started rolling in in the early hours of the afternoon exuding the confidence of scooping the gift hampers that had been laid up for grabs. Unlike the usual partners in sponsorship of chess events, new sponsors were in town. Choppies Supermarket and Bata had joined the chess bandwagon with gift vouchers worth KES 10,000 for the prize fund.
Players came wagging their tongues with a ravenous appetite for the gift vouchers. They had strengthened their mandibles ready to chew their opponents alive.
One could quickly feel the environment change and become laden with Elos ready to be dropped or gained. Besides egos that were in dire need to be quenched and grudges that were to be settled on the board. All these were in a quest to find who is the real champion of blitz.
The games started right on time, and one could only anticipate a tight contest. Joseph Methu, the national Blitz Champion was present which meant that there was no room for errors in the tournament.
Mehul Gohil, Brian Adorwa, Jackson Kamau, Dr Victor Ng’ani and Joseph Atwoli were some of the other self-proclaimed lions. It was hard to tell who would emerge the winner. In this case, it was not the strength of the players that mattered but the number of mistakes they would make during their play. Ronald Bolo was the trusted arbiter for this hotly contested event.
Methu, Adorwa, Atwoli and Mehul had easy first-round wins. But as the rounds unfolded, things began getting thicker, and it was time to separate the boys from the men.
There were ten more rounds to go and the king of blitz would be crowned. Players were on the verge of exploding as the games went on with points being dropped. People were now slowly losing sight of the prize.
Anger and frustrations could be seen written on the faces of some of the players who faced imminent defeat. At some point, they wished for divine intervention of the chess goddess Caïssa to come and save them. Not once, not twice, not even thrice but several times the wisdom of the chief arbiter was put to the test. He had to arbitrate when enraged players tried to settle their scores about a ‘flag fall’ or ‘illegal move’ or something even both of them did not understand!!
The atmosphere was heated, people squinting their eyes in search of accurate concentration. Mehul was one unlucky man was who found himself having to explain his position on different occasions with patzers challenging his wit on the board. On a few occasions, it ended up in a sour way due to time trouble or positional illusions which called for the arbiter’s final word.
Dr. Ng’ani also found himself on the hot seat of argument when a young man tried to prove to him that he had two valuable seconds on the clock which Victor, as his opponent, had wasted. Ronald Bolo in all cases always emerged the hero of the day with his sound judgment that left both parties satisfied.
The final stretch
Methu was proving unstoppable by the 9th round after garnering eight points. Kamau in hot pursuit had 7 points, Panchol 6 points as Mehul, Adorwa and Morrel were struggling with 5.5 points. At this point, it was clear that the championship was taking the shape of its natural curve by placing people where they belonged.
In this round, the games had become bloody with everyone putting their eyes on the prize. The craving for even half a point was on everyone’s mind. Adorwa took on Methu in this ninth round. Methu tried to swallow the adept Adorwa alive but eventually the game ended in a draw.
Joseph Methu wins the event
Methu had stamped his authority by the end of the 11th round, as the undisputed champion with 10 points. Kamau was close behind with (9 points), Mehul (8 points) and Panchol (7.5 points) to complete the prize bracket.
Geoffrey, a representative from the management of Southfield Mall was in attendance to present the winners with their gift vouchers. Joseph Methu, the winner, walked away with vouchers worth KES 4,000 (KES 2,000 each from Choppies & Bata). Jackson Kamau was the first runner’s up and got a KES 2,000 Bata’s voucher & KES 1,000 Choppies voucher. Mehul Gohil was 2nd runner’s up won a Bata voucher of KES 2,000. James Panchol took home Choppies voucher of KES 1,000 as 4th prize.
Terrian Chess Academy looks forward to partnering with other sponsors and organising another spectacular event.