Flashback to the 1996 Commonwealth Chess Championship
The Commonwealth Chess Championship is an annual event for players from Commonwealth countries. This hotly contested event certainly attracts some of the best players.
CM Ben Magana and WCM Joyce Nyauruai represented Kenya in the 2018 edition. The two players chosen had won the 2017 Kenya National Championship titles.
The 2018 edition which took place in Delhi, India, had just over 160 players from a dozen federations.
PN Odhiambo 1996 Kenya National Champion
Many players at the time thought that is the first time that Kenya took part in this event. However, that honour went to PN Odhiambo who took part almost two decades ago in the 1996 edition.
PN Odhiambo won the 1996 Kenya National Championship with an impressive score of 7 points out of 8 rounds.
Kenya Chess Association (predecessor of Chess Kenya) sponsored PN Odhiambo for the 5th edition of the Commonwealth Championship.
The event ran from 4th to 14th December 1996 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, in Calcutta. West Bengal Chess Association were the organisers of the competition.
PN Odhiambo was Kenya’s sole representative amongst the 56 players. South Africa, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Scotland, Kenya, England and host India also had representation.
Watu Kobese of South Africa was one of the well-known participants. He scored an impressive 5 points to end up in the 28th position.
RB Ramesh, the world renown chess coach from India, was another participant. He scored 6.5 points to end up in 10th position.
Mithrakanth Sharma of India was the winner with 7.5 points out of 10 rounds.
PN Odhiambo scored a respectable 3.5 points. He ended up in 51st position out of 56 players.
Stewart Reuben of England was the Tournament Director.
It appears that the pairing was done manually!