2022 Kenya National Chess League commences
The 2022 Kenya National Chess League got off to a fine start at the Student Centre of Strathmore University, Nairobi, on 5th March 2022.
This year’s edition certainly marks a significant milestone in Kenyan chess. A record 38 teams are taking part in the event, with 16 in the Premier League and 22 teams in the Super League. A total of just over 440 players are taking part in the event.
The 2020 Kenya National Chess League aborted a few days after the start due to the Covid pandemic. No event was held in 2021.
The top-ranked player is Walter Okas of Uganda, who is rated 2209 and who is the board one player for Anchor Chess Club.
Nairobi Chess Club has a bumpy start
The country’s oldest club, Nairobi Chess Club, had a bumpy start to its 2022 campaign when they lost two vital games in the opening rounds. They overcame a spirited University of Nairobi 3.5-1.5 in round one before crashing to Strathmore University 4-1 in round two.
The renown Timothy Mwabu of Nairobi University spared no mercy for Victor Hongo of Nairobi Chess Club in this encounter.
Victor Hongo v Timothy Mwabu
Brian Kimondo of the University of Nairobi managed to squeeze a draw from Willy Simons the current Chairman of Nairobi Chess Club.
Brian Kimondo v Willy Simons
In round 3, they lost 4-1 to Black Knights and overcame Trojan Warriors 3-2 in round four.
Here is an exciting where Willy Simons of Nairobi Chess Club managed to overcome veteran Mike Waliuba of Trojan Warriors.
Mike Waliuba v Willy Simons
Over the years, Peter Gilruth, who has been a stalwart on board one for Nairobi Chess Club, is not playing this year which explains Nairobi Chess Club’s weak start.
KCB faces some hiccups
In their round three match, the mighty KCB Chess Club, the defending champions, also stumbled by drawing against Nairobi Chess Academy & Club.
Another upset from round one was when Dau Makuach of Kenyatta University defeated Martin Njoroge, the current Kenya National Chess Champion.
Adol Mkuach Dau v Martin Njoroge
In round three, Martin Njoroge again faced more misery when Matthew Kanegeni of Nairobi Chess Academy & Club defeated him in a 21 move game.
Martin Njoroge v Matthew Kanegeni
Karan Christie vs Elvis Likoko
Another fascinating game in round three was between Karan Christie of Daystar University and Elvis Likoko of Strathmore University.
Elvis Likoko, in his usual aggressive style of play, could not make much headway into Karan’s cautious play. An inaccuracy in move 47 gave Karan Christie a lifeline before a horrific blunder by Elvis on move 60.
Karan Christie vs Elvis Likoko
Equity Bank Chess Club
Equity Bank Chess Club, the big-spending team, is missing from action the 2022 Kenya National Chess League. Readers will recall that Equity Bank Chess and KCB Chess Club represented Kenya at the 2017 African Clubs Chess Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Westlands Chess Club
Westlands Chess Club, which has been inactive for the past eight years, has made a comeback and played in the Super Division under the stewardship of founder Paras Gudka.