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Players gear up for Nakuru Open

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Players gear up for Nakuru Open

Nakuru Chess Club will this weekend host the eagerly awaited 2021 Nakuru Open.  Players are looking forward to play in the first FIDE rated event since the Covid pandemic broke out in March 2020.

Poster of the Nakuru Open.
Poster of the Nakuru Open.

The event will have six rounds and time control of 60 minutes plus 30 seconds.  The venue will be the city campus of Kabarak University.

The last FIDE rated event held in Kenya was the 10th Capablanca Cup organised by Nairobi Chess Club in February 2020.

Mehul Gohil, the reigning Kenya National Champion, has confirmed his participation, and it will be interesting to see who will stop him from grabbing his maiden Nakuru title. He is the top rated player in the event.

Mehul Gohil the reigning Kenya National Champion.
Mehul Gohil the reigning Kenya National Champion.

Dr Jacob Onditi is second on the rating list, and he will be keen to stop Mehul Gohil in his track.

Dr Jacob Onditi who will be seeking to stop Kenya National Champion Mehul Gohil from grabbing the 2021 Nakuru Open title.
Dr Jacob Onditi who will be seeking to stop Kenya National Champion Mehul Gohil from grabbing the 2021 Nakuru Open title.

Other players who will be seeking glory includes 16-year old Robert Mcligeyo and Elvis Likoko.

Past winners of the Nakuru Open

2005 – Ben Nguku

2006 – Kenneth Omolo

2007 – CM Ben Magana

2008 – Nathan Ateka

2009 – FM Steve Ouma

2010 – Ben Nguku

History of the Nakuru Open

The Nakuru Open has been in existence since the late 1990s and ran for about 15 years until 2015. The period 2010 to 2015 saw specific editions missed out due to disputes between the club and the national federation.

For about nine consecutive years from the mid 1990s, the event was known as the Rift Valley Open since the main sponsor was Rift Valley Machineries Ltd.

Joseph ole Sompisha, a three-time Olympian (1986, 1988, 1990), was the organiser of this popular event in the chess calendar.

Kabarak University, which is on the same grounds as Moi High School, is hosting this year’s edition at their city campus.

Moi High School played host to the visiting USA-based world-famous Kenyan chess whiz kid Kangugi Karanja (KK), who conducted a simultaneous exhibition against 30 players. KK was then a USA school chess champion in his age category. The government of Kenya entirely sponsored the visit.

Kangugi Karanja (KK) on the cover of the September 1988 edition of the premier business magazine 'Executive'.
Kangugi Karanja (KK) on the cover of the September 1988 edition of the premier business magazine ‘Executive’.

Another interesting fact about Kangugi Karanja (KK) is that in 1988 he held World Champion Garry Kasparov to a draw in a simultaneous event.

Links

Standing and Results of the 2021 Nakuru Open.