Joseph Methu wins inaugural TABAN Chess Championship.
Chess is one of the fastest growing games in Kenya. On Saturday 23 February 2019, 41 players turned up for the inaugural TABAN Rapid Chess Tournament. This event was jointly organised by Trojan Chess Club, Anchor Chess Club & Black Knights Chess Club. The tournament was a six-round event with an impressive prize fund of KES 41,000 (USD400) with the winner receiving KES 15,000 (USD 150).
Round 1 to 4
The 1st round kicked off, on a high note. There were already casualties of lethal attacks from the prepared masters of the game. Austin Walela was one of the first victims as he was trampled upon by WCM Joyce Nyaruai . This lady is a beast! She came in when the clock was running down, and she had only 5 minutes while Walela had 25 minutes. However, as WCM, she proved that a master does need a whole day to thrash a patzer.
WCM Joyce Nyaruai in a consequent game took on Anthony Kionga, a renowned arbiter in the Kenyan arena. She roasted him down to ashes of his former self. She had built a fortress of pawns from a well-established opening that Kionga could not break through. Before he knew it, his defences were invaded and crushed down ruthlessly. What followed was like putting a dead man on an oxygen machine hoping for a miracle, but it was too late. Nyaruai had sucked the life out of the arbiter and left him lifeless. She had proved that knowing FIDE rules does not necessarily convert into strength on the board!
Moses Andiwoh was next when he added Martin Oyamo on his list of prey. He displayed his predator skills as he wrecked Oyamo from an unexpected angle. He slithered through Oyamo’s disoriented position and pounced at a critical moment with a lethal sacrifice that left him gaping with his eyes popping. At this moment, Oyamo wished to invoke Caïssa, the chess goddess who was asleep. Andiwoh prowled around his prey, salivating the moments. Oyamo was dead, only waiting for cremation into a checkmate furnace. As Andiwoh came back on the board, he was heard asking his opponent, “Where would you like to move…” you could see the frustration in Oyamo’s eyes as he let his King fall with a resounding resignation.
As the tournament went on, players redeemed themselves while others plummeted. Austin Walela reclaimed his pride along the way with one of his victims being veteran blitzer Francis Ngesa.
When the fifth round came, Joseph Methu had proved to be unstoppable. He was now going to meet with Hugh Misiko. Misiko is a little-known name in the Kenyan chess arena. He has however proved to be a force to reckon with. In this tournament, by the fifth round, he had had a winning spree only blemished with a single draw.
At this juncture, Methu almost had his hand on the winner’s trophy. Players yearning for the top prize were now holding their rosary beads praying that the spirit of Morphy would reincarnate in Misiko and squeeze the life out of Methu. Their prayers fell on the barren ground as that yielded nothing. The incarnation of Morphy still lived on in Methu who effortlessly took down Misiko.
By the last round, Joseph Methu had already confirmed he had bagged the first prize. He only needed a draw and would walk home a rich man. Thus, even as Austin sat on the table for the last round against Methu, he was aware that he was going to encounter raw strength. His attempt was like a toothless man trying to chew bones. Probably in his mind, he begged for mercy that the wrath of Methu would not befall him in the eleventh hour. However, for Methu, there was nothing more to prove and hence, they settled for a draw.
The following were the winners of the tournament;
Joseph Methu – 5.5 points (KES 15,000)
Brian Adorwa – 5 points (KES 8,000)
Moses Andiwoh – 5 points (KES 8,000)
Austin Walela – 4.5 points (KES 3,500)
Martin Oyamo – 4.5 points (KES 3,500)
The sixth position was a tie between 8 players; Francis Ngesa, Hugh Misiko, Milton Kihara, Wangombe Mugo, Titus Kirega, WCM Joyce Nyaruai, Kuir Malek and David Gaitho. They all shared the prize for positions 6 & 7, and each walked home with KES 375.
This event was made possible by the generous sponsorship deal from Mr Gichu Wahome & Mr Munene Gatere.