Kenya’s Tourism Cabinet Secretary Honourable Najib Balala was introduced to chess at the official opening of Giraffe Ark Game Lodge in Mweiga, Nyeri by lodge owner and chess aficionado Peter Mahu on Friday, 15th April.
Playing an exhibition match against Nairobi-based financial consultant Benson Wambugu on one of the lodge’s two giant chess boards, Peter invited the CS to play a few moves on his behalf as Hon. Balala wondered out aloud—to the chagrin of onlookers—whether chess was anything like checkers.
The exhibition match was held alongside a junior chess tournament to mark the official opening of the beautiful lodge.
Two junior players from Nairobi County and four from Nyeri County played in a double round robin rapid tournament dubbed ‘Giraffe Ark Lodge Closed Junior Chess Championship’ and organised on behalf of the lodge by Motochess Ventures (run by yours truly).
After 5 hours and 10 rounds of gruelling play, the final standings were as follows:
- First Place: Andrew Nderitu (Nyeri) – 9 points
- Second Place: Ayarton Buyanzi (Nairobi) – 8.5 pts
- Joint Third Place: Sharlene Njoki (Nyeri), Elizabeth Wanjiru (Nyeri) and Charity Mumbi (Nyeri) – 4 pts
- Sixth Place: Raphael Ochieng (Nairobi) – 0.5 pt
All participants received an allowance of KES 2,000 and were treated to a sumptuous lunch after the tournament before heading back home to Nyeri and Nairobi.