Martin Njoroge is the 2021 Kenya National Champion
Martin Njoroge is the 2021 Kenya National Champion after a thrilling five-day championship that ended last Thursday evening at the Luke Hotel in Nairobi.
The event, which saw just over 140 players battling for the title and the keys to a brand new Mazda Demio, was full of exciting chess.
The final 9th round had front runner Mehul Gohil facing CM Ben Magana on board one, while on board number two, Martin Njoroge met James Kabui. Mehul Gohil led with 22 points while CM Ben Magana and Martin Njoroge had 20 points leading to three possibilities.
If Mehul won his game, he would be declared National Championship irrespective of what happens on board 2.
On the other hand, CM Ben Magana would be the National Champion if he won and if Martin Njoroge lost.
If both CM Ben Magana and Martin Njoroge won their respective games, both would go into the playoffs for the overall title.
The fourth possibility was that if Gohil and Magana drew and Njoroge won, it would mean a Gohil/Njoroge playoff for the overall title, which is what happened.
Fans now waited for an explosive playoff final between the incumbent Champion Mehul Gohil and upcoming 25-year-old star Martin Njoroge.
Mehul won the first rapid, and it now appeared that he would win his second car! Martin fought back bravely to win the second rapid game and force a blitz playoff.
Martin did not disappoint his fans with a resounding 2-0 victory. The fans waiting in the adjacent room erupted with joy to crown a new King. Watch the scenes of jubilation moment after Martin wins the title – Video Clip.
Mehul Gohil was gracious in defeat and was kind enough to write an article ‘Final Day Report on the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship‘ for this website. It provides an insight into one of Africa’s most thrilling chess contests.
Martin Njoroge got the keys to the Mazda Demio at the well-attended closing ceremony, while Mehul Gohil received KES 100,000 (USD 900) for his efforts.
16-year-old Robert Oluka Mcligeyo deserves special mention who obtained 20 points. Out of the nine games, he only lost to Mehul Gohil in round 2, drew two and won 6 games. He ended up 8th in the final ranking.
FM Martin Gateri, the second seed, found the going tough and ended up with 16 points and 29th in the ranking.
21-year-old Elvis Likoko let his fans down by withdrawing after just four rounds. Two consecutive defeats from Mehul Gohil and Jerry Collins on day two appear to have demoralised him. Chess fans hoped he would make it to the 2022 Olympiad team, especially after his emphatic 4-2 victory in the Terrian Challenge against veteran Ricky Sang.
Clement Miheso, the former Chairman of Kenya Chess Association who was affectionately called ‘Champ‘ in his heydays, ended with 15 points and finished in the 44th position. He was declared the winner of the PWD Section. In round four he faced Martin Njoroge in what can be termed a clash between two generations.
Martin Njoroge v Clement Miheso
Cartoon on the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship
2021 National Championship Open Section – Martin Njoroge (Brand New Mazda Demio)
2nd Place – Mehul Gohil (KES 100,000/=)
3rd Place – CM Benjamin Magana (KES 63,330/=)
4th Place – Joseph Methu (KES 50,830/=)
5th Place – Hillary Sagwa (KES 40,830/=)
6th Place – Hugh Misiko (KES 9,000/=)
7th Place – Matthew Kanegeni (KES 7,750/=)
8th Place – Robert Mcligeyo (KES 7,750/=)
9th Place – Daniel Gisore (KES 7,500/=)
10th Place – Jackson Kamau (KES 7,500/=)
PWD Open Section
Champion – Clement Miheso (KES 10,000/=)
2nd Place – Sadam Ali Sheikh (KES 6,000/=)
3rd Place – Geoffrey Maoga (KES 5,000/=)
Best University Male Player
Glen Kingoina (KES 7,500/=)
Best U21 Player Open Section
Brian Gabriel Mwangi – (KES 5,000/=)
Second phase of Olympiad Qualifiers
The top 24 players will now go into the second phase of the Olympiad Qualifiers.
Oliver Ananda was the official photographer who did an excellent job of capturing the key moments of the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship.