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Kenya Premier Chess League takes off

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Kenya Premier Chess League takes off

The Kenya Premier Chess League got off to a grand start with a total of 32 teams taking part. This year’s edition has two divisions (Elite and Super) with 16 teams each.

The same format has been retained with each team having twelve players.  Matches are played across five boards of which one must be a lady.

The venue for the first four matches was the NYS Engineering Campus along Thika Road.

Photo of the playing hall during round 1 of the 2020 Kenya Premier Chess League at the NYS Engineering Campus. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Photo of the playing hall during round 1 of the 2020 Kenya Premier Chess League at the NYS Engineering Campus. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

KCB Chess Club who won the 2019 KPCL edition did not play this weekend as 7 of their players were taking part in the Finals of the Olympiad Qualifiers. The team for the 2020 edition is the same as 2019 one.

From left Brian Chege and Chris Maina of JKUAT in action during the Kenya Premier Chess League. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
From left Brian Chege and Chris Maina of JKUAT in action during the Kenya Premier Chess League. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Team line ups

Equity Bank Chess Club has also retained the same line up as 2019. Anchor Chess Club who ended up in 2nd place has beefed up their squad with two more Ugandans. Walter Okas and Andrew Mageni have joined their compatriot Mike Akabo in this formidable squad.

Mika Akabo of Uganda who plays for Anchor Chess Club. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Mika Akabo of Uganda who plays for Anchor Chess Club. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Nairobi Chess Academy and Club have also signed up two Ugandans in their team. These include CM Bob Bibasa and Simon Gonza.

Nairobi Chess Club has signed up Artem Gurevich who is Kenya’s highest-ranked player at 2185 in their bid to win a maiden League title. He is registered with the Canadian Chess Federation but is currently residing in Kenya.

Artem Gurevich who has joined Nairobi Chess Club. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Artem Gurevich who has joined Nairobi Chess Club. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

WFM Sanjana Deshpande another top lady player has joined up with Nairobi Chess Club. She was the winner of the 2014 Kenya National Ladies Championship.

Nairobi Chess Club team pose for a group photo before the start of round 1. From left Artem Gurevich, Vasanth Ramesh, Roberto Villuela, Pranjal Parikh and WFM Sanjana Deshpande. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Nairobi Chess Club team pose for a group photo before the start of round 1. From left Artem Gurevich, Vasanth Ramesh, Roberto Villuela, Pranjal Parikh and WFM Sanjana Deshpande. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Transfer Market

This year’s edition has the newly approved transfer market.  Corporate teams pay KES 20,000 (USD 200) as a minimum fee for a player. Other teams pay KES 3,000 (USD 30).

Glenda Madelta made history by being the first player to make such a move from Nairobi Chess Club to Equity Bank Chess Club. Nairobi Chess Club has also lost the services of Mehul Gohil who moved to Nakuru Chess Club.

Glenda Madelta in action during the 2019 Kenya Open. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Glenda Madelta in action during the 2019 Kenya Open. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Nairobi Chess Club got off to a dream start with four wins over the first weekend of matches. They defeated Strathmore University and Trojan Warriors 5-0 and 4-1 respectively on Saturday. On Sunday they returned to their winning ways by defeating University of Nairobi and Victoria Chess Club by 3.5-1.5 and 4-1 respectively.

Roselyn Wambui and Adan Mohammed both Strathmore University in action. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Roselyn Wambui and Adan Mohammed both Strathmore University in action. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Moses Amatalo (Victoria Chess Club) v Jean-Baka Domelevo (Nairobi Chess Club)

Austin Okeyo of Victoria Chess Club in action. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Austin Okeyo of Victoria Chess Club in action. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Austin Okeyo (Victoria Chess Club) v Vasanth Ramesh (Nairobi Chess Club)

Links

Standings and Results of the 2019 Kenya Premier Chess League.

Equity Bank win 2018 Kenya League title.

Equity Bank win 2017 Kenya League title.