CM Ben Magana wins 2021 Nakuru Open
CM Ben Magana, aka ‘King of Chulaimbo‘, brushed aside the Covid cobwebs to win the 2021 edition of the Nakuru Open in dominating fashion with 6.5 points out of a possible 7 points.
He was undefeated, in the seven round event dropping only half a point against Joseph Methu in round 6. CM Ben Magana went home with a cash prize of KES 20,000 (or approximately USD 200)
Joseph Methu and James Panchol were in joint second place with 6 points each. However, Joseph Methu was ranked higher due to a better tie break. They equally shared the cash prize of KES 15,000.
Mehul Gohil, Ahmed Mowlid, Ricky Sang and Martin Njoroge were joint third with 5.5 points. Each player went home with KES 750.
The event, which was the first post-Covid event, saw just over 100 players taking part. The Open Section had 87 players, while the Ladies Section had 24 players.
The venue for the event was the grandiose Hotel Waterbuck and held over the weekend of 31st July to 1st August 2021.
The last round had an exciting finish with CM Ben Magana taking on Mehul Gohil on board 1. Both players were leading the event with 5.5 points, and a win in the final would secure the title.
The interesting thing about this game is that it followed a similar movement pattern of a game played at the 2021 World Cup between GM Sergey Karjakin and GM Sam Shankland. The position midway through the games is shown below.
CM Ben Magana v Mehul Gohil
Another interesting game from the event was the round 3 encounter between 16 year old Robert McLigeyo and CM Ben Magana.
CM Ben Magana v Robert McLigeyo
Sadam Ali Sheikh the reigning Kenya National Champion PLWD managed a respectable 3.5 points out of seven rounds.
WCM Joyce Nyaruai won the Ladies Section with a perfect score of 7/7. She went home with a cash prize of KES 10,000 (USD 100).
Glenda Madelta was a distant second with 5.5 points to earn a cash prize of KES 5,000. Triza Mwendwa, Elizabeth Cassidy and WCM Lucy Wanjiru were joint third with 5 points and equally shared a cash prize of KES 3,000.
Interesting facts about CM Ben Magana
CM Ben Magana has represented Kenya at six Olympiad events (2000, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2018).
He has won the Kenya National Championship a record three times (2006, 2013 and 2017 editions).
CM Ben Magana is the self-sponsored Western Express team captain that participates in the highly competitive Uganda National League. The team finished in a respectable 6th position out of 39 teams in the 2019 edition.
Ben Magana defeated former World Junior Chess Champion GM Adly Ahmed of Egypt during their encounter in the 2007 African Individual Chess Championships held in Windhoek, Namibia. He was the first Kenyan ever to defeat a Grandmaster.
CM Ben Magana is the currently online trainer for talented children from five countries.
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
2016 – James Panchol
2018 – James Panchol
Interesting facts about Nakuru
Nakuru is Kenya’s 4th largest urban centre with a population of 570,674. It is the capital of Nakuru County and is approximately about 170 km NW of Nairobi.
Nakuru is home to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the Lake Nakuru National Park. The park has large numbers of flamingoes that can be seen foraging in the shallow lake.
The city for a long time has been a hotbed of Kenyan politics and it was home to a variety of colourful politicians including Koigi wa Wamwere and the late Kariuki Chotara.
Koigi wa Wamwere became famous for opposing both the Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi regimes, both of which sent him to detention. He is also the author of several books including ‘I Refuse to Die: My Journey For Freedom‘.
The late 1970s was a period of unrest and demonstrations by University of Nairobi students agitating for change. Kariuki Chotara learned that they were being influenced by one Karl Marx. To deal with the problem, he proposed that Karl Marx be arrested and held to prevent him from deceiving the students!