Kenya’s Lawrence Kagambi leads Chess Festival

By francis marangu
May 02, 2021
  • Competitors at a past chess event.(Photo:File)

Kenya’s Lawrence Kagambi is well placed to claim the overall title at the Kenya Millionaire Chess Festival that concludes on Sunday at the Kenyatta International Convention Center.

He has maintained a consistent run in five rounds of the prestige section collecting maximum five points. He has registered 1-0 wins over Tadesse Biruk Tekalign of Ethiopia and Kenya’s quartet of Ben Magana, Joseph Atwoli, Kenneth Omollo and Ahmed Mowlid.

Kagambi’s toughest challenge will be in the sixth round where he plays Ugandan FIDE Master Harold Wanyama who is second with 4.5 points.

Mowlid completes the top three positions with 4 points. Omolo, Atwoli and Magana are fourth, fifth and sixth in that order with 4 points each. The sixth round will be a key decider for Kenya’s top players with interesting matchups.

Mowlid will play against Omollo as Atwoli and Magana faceoff. Remel Ramirez is the only Ethiopian player with 3 points as the rest are still winless. Tom Amwai leads the open section with 4.5 points from five rounds beating Collins Young, Martin Oyamo and Arnold Oyagi to second, third and fourth spots respectively on tie break.

Good turn out

It will be a tight contest going to the final two rounds of play in a section that has attracted 78 players. In the juniors section, seven players are tied on 3 points after three rounds of play.

Samuel Nyambura Mbugua, Veer Shah Samir, Darshan Shah, Ankur Phadke Shrirama, Reana Paaras Varsani, Fathima Mohamed and Steadfast Njogu have all won their games. A total of 67 participants are registered for this section.

On Saturday, organizers were forced to change playing areas due to heavy rains and wind. As a result, the Open & Junior Sections were shifted to inside the Amphitheater.

Chess Kenya CEO who is the Tournament Manager Satish Deshpande said they are impressed with the progress thus far.

“The organizing team is grateful to teh crowds for having turned out in such large numbers. We are actually overwhelmed by this and are doing all we can to ensure every participant and visitor is as comfortable as possible.”