A report prepared by the Kenya National Chess League Committee that details key recommendations to improve the coming season will be presented to Chess Kenya (CK) on Tuesday next week.
The committee which was headed by Isaac Babu, the chairman identified the main challenges for the just-concluded 2014/15 season and areas they should worked on.
Among these is lack of funds. The committee noted entry fees was the only source of revenue. As a result, most of the matches were restricted to Nairobi where there was a guarantee of free venues.
Financial constraints also saw CK send only one arbiter to matches played outside Nairobi while winners were only given trophies and no cash prize.
Other challenges occasioned by lack of funds were insufficient clocks with a single round requiring about 30 and league branded score sheets. “Some of the clocks were faulty because they are old and the league used old score sheets,” the report says.
The report also noted that when funds were available, the process of releasing money was hampered by bureaucratic barriers because treasurer was mostly unavailable. The committee has recommended that CK conducts aggressive marketing campaigns to woo corporate sponsors. This can be achieved by inviting potential sponsors to chess tournaments and preparation of timely proposals for presentation.
The committee wants regional clubs and offices tasked with the responsibility of marketing the game at the grassroots. The clubs will be involved in creating good relations with potential sponsors in their areas.
In addition to expanding the league to cover all regions where CK has presence, clubs that take part in tournaments will be encouraged to do branding which can help draw sponsors. “This will in turn make it possible to approach respective county sports minister/governor for support.”
Clashes in league fixtures
Also, the committee noted that persistent clashes between league fixtures and organizers of tournaments as another factor contributing to ineffectiveness of the league. They want a clear schedule drawn out so that tournament organizers don’t settle for dates where league fixtures have been drawn.
“CK should communicate league fixtures in a timely manner and encourage tournament organizers to pick different dates than those already with league matches,” the committee recommended.
Another key recommendation by the committee is to have its operations run independently from those of CK. They say such a move will increase efficiency in the way the league is run. “This implies that CK should surrender funds meant for league to avoid unnecessary delays and inconveniences.”
Chess Kenya chairman Githinji Hinga said they are looking forward to receiving the report. “Even though I have not read through it in details, the report has some very good recommendations. Sponsorship has been a major issue in the past seasons but we hope these recommendations will give us the way forward.”
The league income for the period ending February 28 amounted to Sh. 191, 000 with Sh. 101, 000 coming from league entry fee and Sh. 90, 000 from membership fee. Total expenses for the season were Sh. 102, 900 as arbitration (Sh. 34, 000) as well as trophies and medals (Sh. 40, 900) being the biggest expenditures.