Magana, Nyaruai to face stern test in Chess Championship title defence

Magana, Nyaruai to face stern test in Chess Championship title defence

The 40th edition of the Kenya National Chess Championship is penciled to run from December 12- 16 at Parklands Sports Club.

Reigning national champion Benjamin Magana is expected to face stiff competition from his rivals who have been training for the event since June.

Magana is likely to face a stern test from teammate Joseph Methu, Gohil Mehul and Jackson Kamau. Other contenders in open section include Githinji Hinga,Victor Ngani, Steve Ouma and Nathan Ateka.

The reigning ladies champion Joyce Nyaruai is also expected to face an uphill task as she bids to defend the title. This year’s performance puts two new kids on the block ahead of her in many top rated tournaments. Sasha Mwongeli from Technical University of Kenya has been on the rise having staged the best performance during world Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia with 7/8 score in her debut.

The tournament will also be used to select a five-player team; both men and ladies, for next year’s All Africa Games to be held in October in Morocco. The national championship will act as the first phase of selection process where top 20 players will proceed to second phase.

The tourney will also be used to select top under- 20 juniors to represent Kenya in Africa Junior Chess Championship to be held in Uganda from December 28-January 4, 2019.

The juniors; a boy and a girl, will be fully sponsored to battle it out with Africa finest chess players to qualify for world junior championship 2019.

This year’s event has a record Sh 400, 000 prize money for the winners and is expected to provide fierce competition.

There are a total of ten prizes in Open Section with the winner walking away with Sh. 100,000. The ladies will play in their own separate category and will also have the same number of winners as in Open Section.

Other prizes will be awarded to best player rated under 1600 Elo, under 1400 Elo and best juniors under the age of 20 years (a boy and a girl).

“We are expecting a very huge turn up this year since we have increased prize fund. There is also huge interest to qualify for All Africa Games and this will make one of the toughest events this year.

Chess Kenya is looking forward to make this event the biggest on its calendar and in future,” said Benard Wanjala, Chess Kenya President.

The tournament will run for nine rounds, with each player being accorded 90 minutes plus 30 seconds in each game. Registration deadline lapses on December 10.