Visiting Grandmaster Nigel Short from England was a top attraction over the weekend during the Kenya National Speed Chess Championships held at the Nairobi Gymkhana. Short conducted a simultaneous exhibition against 30 players from different clubs across the country and won all games.
He was the chief guest at the tournament and will be conducting lectures to help improve chess standards in the country.
A total of 176 players took part in two tournaments namely National Rapid Chess championship and National Blitz Chess Championship. They are the first ever speed chess tournaments to be rated by FIDE in Kenya.
In the open section, Candidate Master Ben Magana triumphed with 7 points and only lost the fifth round of play to Joseph Atwoli. Magana was in good frame beating Alusa Bonaventure, Charles Lwanga, Collins Young, Joseph Methu, Joseph Maigua, Moses Andiwoh and Peter Gilruth all in an identical 1-0 result.
Atwoli and Young tied at 6.5 points but Atwoli won the tiebreaker to finish second. Atwoli tied with Gilruth at 0.5-all in their sixth round play and lost 0-1 to Young in the eighth round. Young lost to Magana 0-1 in third round and tied at 0.5-all with Brian Kadenge in fifth round.
Ricky Sang and George Nderitu finished with 6 points each while Gilruth, Martin Oyamo, James Madol Panchol and James Muchai scored 5.5 each. Joseph Methu won eleven out of twelve rounds in the blitz tourney to emerge victorious with 11 points. His only 0-1 loss was inflicted by Ben Nguku in the ninth round.
Magana finished second with 9.5 points same as Nguku who came in third. The two played to a 0.5-all tie in fourth round with Magana tied in second round against Sumit Deshpande and third round against Atwoli. He lost 0-1 to Methu in tenth round.
Despite beating the eventual winner, Nguku lost 0-1 to Oyamo in second round and Candidate Master Kenneth Omollo in eleventh round but tied with Magana in fourth round. Omollo and Oyamo scored 9 points each while George Nderitu came sixth with 8.5.
Sumit Deshpande and Sunil Subramaniam finished with 7.5 points each in the under-16 section after playing eight rounds. Aravind Vengarai, Jeff Gichuki, Glen Oruke and Arnold Klein Mudidi scored 6 points each while Aguda Lwanga and Denis Mimi had 5.5 a piece.