This week marked a new birth for chess in Kenya when an Interim Committee takes over the administration of the game from the incumbents whose controversial four-year term ends this Saturday, April 21.
The interim committee has been appointed by the Ministry of Sports, after a successful petition by players to dislodge the incumbents for supposed breaching various clauses of the Societies Act.
The players were concerned that the Chess Kenya had failed to hold any national championships for the four years they have been in office.
The outgoing office also failed to hold annual general meetings and table their financial reports.
Sports Secretary Prof. Wilson Lang’at chaired the meeting last week that appointed the Interim committee where Chess Kenya was represented by the Vice chairman Francis Ngesa, secretary general Lawrence Kagambi and committee member Steve Ouma. Dr. Victor Ng’ani, John Mukabi, Githinji Hinga and Phillip Singe acted on behalf of the players.
The interim committee will have nine members headed by the Chief Sports officer, Douglas Ratemo.
It will have a member each from the Kenya National Sports Council, KNSC and the National Olympics Committee of Kenya, NOCK, three members from the outgoing CK office and three players’ representatives(Victor Ng’ani, Githinji Hinga and Paras Gudka).
The committee will run the sport’s affairs for the next six months paving way for elections. Among its immediate duties will be to review and amend the game’s national constitution.
Despite the leadership standoff Chess managed to send a team to the All Africa Games and Kenya and has also been represented in the past editions of biennial Olympiad for the last four decades.
This year’s edition is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey from August 27th to September 10th and organizing qualifiers and molding a strong team will be one of the tasks of the committee.
Kenya has been waiting thirty years for its second ever medal at the event since the silver medal won by Seif Kenani in 1980.
Despite the challenges, juniors have been showing promising potential with three of them winning two silvers and a bronze medal at the recent Africa Youth Championshiops in Lusaka, Zambia last year.
The most promising of them is nine year old Sharanya Iyengar who won one of the silver medals in the under-10 category and has been winning games against strong senior players in local tournaments.
She also finished 8th overall in the World Youth Championships under 8 category two years ago.
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