Nairobi Chess Club Win Inaugural Strathmore University Teams Rapid Chess Challenge

Nairobi Chess Club, armed with three of Kenya’s top 20 players obliterated their opposition in the inaugural Strathmore University Teams Rapid Chess Challenge to finish with 18 match points and 32 game points. Their closest rival Kenya Commercial Bank finished with 14 match points and 27.5 game points followed by Equity Bank Team 1 which finished with 14 match points and 26.5 game points.

Team Nairobi Chess Club receiving their trophy from Strathmore University Sports Director Sylvia Kamau / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Team Nairobi Chess Club receiving their trophy from Strathmore University Sports Director Sylvia Kamau / Photo by Allan Rongoey

KCB’s experienced Olympians and Equity Bank’s Ugandan import IM Elijah Emojong couldn’t cause even a dent in the more disciplined NCC side of Mehul Gohil, Peter Gilruth, James Panchol, Willy Simons and Kim Bhari. All four main players of Nairobi Chess Club made their domination and strength clear by also winning individual prizes on Boards 1 through 4.

Anchor Chess Club Alligators and Nairobi Chess Academy & Club Senior completed the top 5. Strathmore University Chess Club A won the ‘Best University/College Team’ prize, while Anchor Chess Club Hatchlings received the ‘Best Junior Team’ trophy.

Anchor Chess Club Hatchlings receiving their trophy from Sylvia Kamau / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Anchor Chess Club Hatchlings receiving their trophy from Sylvia Kamau / Photo by Allan Rongoey

Gold medals for board prizes in the Open section were awarded to IM Elijah Emojong – Equity Bank Team 1 (Board 1); Peter Gilruth – Nairobi Chess Club (Board 2); James Panchol – Nairobi Chess Club (Board 3) and Peter Diing – Equity Bank Team 1 (Board 4)

In the Under 18 section, ace coach NI Sreelatha Sathya’s ‘A’ team – Tritonite Stars – stole the show ahead of Nairobi Gymkhana Chess Team U18 A with 10 match points and 17 game points from 5 rounds. The latter came second with 8 match points and 14.5 game points ahead of Elimu House Gladiators which had 6 match points and 14 game points.

Gold medals for board prizes in this section were awarded to Jeff Gichuki – Elimu House Gladiators (Board 1); WCM Reanna Varsani – Tritonite Stars (Board 2); Sunil Subramaniam – Nairobi Gymkhana Chess Team U18 A (Board 3) and WFM Riya Shah – Tritonite Stars (Board 4).

A view of the playing hall at Strathmore University / Photo by Sruthi Vasanth
A view of the playing hall at Strathmore University / Photo by Sruthi Vasanth

The most hotly contested section with 24 teams and 108 players, the Under 12, saw Elimu House Avengers, coached by NI James Mwangi, finish on top with 9 match points and 17.5 game points in 5 rounds. They were closely followed by Mavens Chess Club A who also finished with 9 match points and 17.5 game points but lost out on a weaker Buchholz Cut 1 score. Following them in third position were Tritonite Stars – Kids with 7 match points and 12.5 game points. Makini Schools – Team 3 and SOI Mukuru Pioneers completed the top 5 finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

Elimu House Avengers in deep concentration / Photo by Kim Bhari
Elimu House Avengers in deep concentration / Photo by Kim Bhari

Gold medals for board prizes in this section were awarded to Alvin Mbithi – Mavens Chess Club A (Board 1); Vivian Muthoni – Elimu House Avengers (Board 2); Rocky Muchiri – Elimu House Avengers (Board 3) and Mark Alando – Mavens Chess Club A (Board 4).

The Open section was a 9-round Swiss system FIDE rated tournament that saw 12 teams and 57 players participate while the Under 18 and Under 12 sections were 5-round Swiss system unrated tournaments that brought in 38 teams and 172 players cumulatively. A whopping 229 players registered for this tournament making it one of the biggest in recent years.

This tournament hosted by Strathmore University and organised by Motochess Ventures also served as a warm-up event for the 2017 Kenya National Chess League expected to commence in February after the 2016 edition failed to take off due to wrangles at Chess Kenya.

The arbitration team comprised of: FA Paras Gudka (Chief Arbiter), NA Mutua Sembei (Deputy Chief Arbiter), NA Hannah Muthoni Wangari, NA Gideon Kirwa, NA Franklin Maina, Nicole Andeche, Nickson Munge and Edgar Miheso.

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