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Who is Kenya Chess Masala?

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My name is Kim Bhari.

I am 53 years old with a wife a 16 year old daughter and 10 year old son.  I live in the bustling city of Nairobi.  I am an electrical engineer graduate from University of Nairobi who gave it all up to become a Certified Public Accountant.  I have worked in various organizations and now run a small accountancy office in Nairobi.

I have had a love hate relation with chess.  I learnt chess in high school played for about 2 years then dropped it until I finished university when I started to play again.  Stopped playing while I was studying for my accountancy exams and got involved around 1988 when I qualified.

Fell out of love with chess in 1999 and returned in 2007.

My detailed chess CV

Captain of Nairobi Chess Club during the 1985 National League when we came out 3rd.

Represented Kenya during the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista, Republic of Kalmykia.

Appointed as Chairman of Nairobi Chess Club in 1993 to date.  Longest serving Chairman of a chess club in the world?  The club remains one of Kenya’s most active and organized club.

Appointed committee member of Kenya Chess Association in 1993 and later became Vice Chairman from 1994 to 1999.  Hounded out of office and remained inactive as a player or organizer for about 8 years.  These were the dark years of Kenyan chess.

The second most active prolific member (alias – Luke Skywalker) on “Kenya Chess Forum” which was set up in 2007 to foster change in the management of Kenyan Chess.

I have raised over KES 2,000,000 (USD 20,000) over the past 20 years for Kenyan chess.  I continue to organize chess tournaments and the major event for me is the annual Nairobi Chess Club Championship which is held in August.  The 2015 edition of this event attracted a total of 145 players and had a prize fund of KES 121,000.

Inspiration for this site comes from the following people;

  • Rashid Mughal (who wrote the weekly chess column in the 1970/80 for the Daily Nation) and who now resides in Canada.
  • Mehul Gohil who has a great story telling style which makes chess so much more interesting and fascinating to non-chess players.


  • Daaim Shabaaz of www.thechessdrum.net who made me realize that every chess community no matter how small has a story that must be told.

The name Kenya Chess Masala comes from “Kenya Chess Forum” which was the most active social sphere that Kenyan chess players had and from the word “Masala” which is an Indian word which refers to a mixtures of ground spices used in Indian cooking.

The word “masala” seemed appropriate due to the fact that Kenyan chess players are extremely passionate about the game and come from different backgrounds, racial lines, tribes and communities.

My other hobbies include cartooning and reading Greek & Russian history.