Cytonn Investments 2nd HCK Open Attracts Record Crowd of 250 Players

Motochess Ventures’ third open tournament of the year, the Cytonn Investments 2nd HCK Open was a roaring success as 250 players from across East Africa, Nigeria, Germany and Estonia participated in the two-day rapid tournament held at Hindu Council of Kenya headquarters in Parklands, Nairobi on 25th and 26th March 2017.

Games in progress / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Games in progress / Photo by Allan Rongoey

Day One saw junior players competing for top honours in 5 sections: Under 18, Under 14, Under 12, Under 10 and Under 8. Each section saw 7 gruelling rounds played at a time control of 25 minutes per player per game.

In the Under 8 section that saw 17 players participate, the top 3 players were, surprisingly, all girls. Players from four countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Estonia) participated in this section making it the most international of all sections. Prize winners were as follows:

  • First Place (Girls): Hope Wambui Njoroge (Terrian Chess Academy) – 5.5 pts
  • Second Place (Girls): Suhana Patel (Tritonite Stars) – 5 pts
  • Third Place (Girls): Janvi Nipul Shah (Tritonite Stars) – 5 pts
  • First Place (Boys): Elen Mokksh Shah (Oshwal Academy Nairobi) – 5 pts
  • Second Place (Boys): Neville Jabali Kibe (Mavens Chess Club) – 4.5 pts
  • Third Place (Boys): Hetansh Keyur Shah (Oshwal Academy Nairobi) – 4.5 pts

The Under 10 section was more hotly contested with 41 players vying for 6 prizes. Kenya, Germany and Nigeria were the 3 countries represented in this section. Prize winners were as follows:

  • First Place (Girls): Janki Nipul Shah (Tritonite Stars) – 5 pts
  • Second Place (Girls): Erica Mumbi Muturi (Thika Road Christian School) – 4.5 pts
  • Third Place (Girls): Amy Mumo Mutua (Thika Road Christian School) – 4 pts
  • First Place (Boys): Benjamin Bernhardt (Deutsche Schule Nairobi) – 6 pts
  • Second Place (Boys): Sanjay Ramesh (Tritonite Stars) – 6 pts
  • Third Place (Boys): Vyom Kunjal Shah (Oshwal Academy Nairobi) – 6 pts

The Under 12 section saw competition heat up even more with 43 Kenyan players competing for 4 prizes. The following made it to the winners’ podium:

  • First Place: Keith Ndungu (Elimu House Schools) – 6.5 pts
  • Second Place: Rocky Muchiri (Elimu House Schools) – 6.5 pts
  • Third Place: Vivian Muthoni (Elimu House Schools) – 5 pts
  • Best Girl: Nikita Ameetkumar Parikh (Anchor Chess Club) – 5 pts

In the Under 14 section these 4 of 18 Kenyan players came on top:

  • First Place: Jeff Gichuki (Elimu House Schools) – 7 pts
  • Second Place: Alvin Mbithi (Mavens Chess Club) – 6 pts
  • Third Place: Mercy Ingado (Elimu House Schools) – 5 pts
  • Best Girl: Shani Kagondu (Logos Christian School) – 4 pts

In the Under 18 section, 33 players competed for 8 prizes (4 for Under 16 players and 4 for Under 18 players as there was no separate Under 16 section). Prize winners were as follows:

  • First Place (Under 16): Kemis Abdallah (Elimu House Schools) – 5 pts
  • Second Place (Under 16): Lily Robi Shile (State House Girls’ High School) – 5 pts
  • Third Place (Under 16): Sravya Gowri Vadrevu (Nairobi Gymkhana) – 4.5 pts
  • Best Girl (Under 16): Celina Patel (Tritonite Stars) – 4 pts
  • First Place (Under 18): Brian Chege Gichuhi – 6 pts
  • Second Place (Under 18): Brian Kariuki Waweru (Anchor Chess Club) – 6 pts
  • Third Place (Under 18): WCM Krishi Shah (Premier Academy) – 5 pts
  • Best Girl (Under 18): Ramya Gowri Vadrevu (Nairobi Gymkhana) – 4 pts
Prize winners from the junior sections pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Prize winners from the junior sections pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey

Many of Day One’s prize winners returned on Day Two to compete in the FIDE rated Open section which was also played over 7 rounds but with a time control of 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move from move 1 per player per game.

East Africa’s second highest rated player IM (International Master) Elijah Emojong of Uganda was the top seed in this section with a rating of 2352 followed by Githinji Hinga (2123) and Mehul Gohil (2122) of Kenya. A total of 101 players from 3 countries (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) made the Open section tournament one of the few events in recent years that have seen 100+ participants playing together in one section.

After 7 rounds, IM Emojong emerged clear winner with 6.5 points followed by Kenya’s Dr. Jacob Onditi on 6 points and South Sudan’s James Madol Panchol on 6 points. This was Elijah’s second consecutive win of a Motochess Ventures organised tournament after the 2017 KAM Rapid Championship held on 19th March 2017.

Overall winner IM Elijah Emojong posing with tournament officials / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Overall winner IM Elijah Emojong posing with tournament officials / Photo by Allan Rongoey

With many players finishing with the same number of points, ties were broken with Performance Rating as the first tie-break score followed by Buchholz, Median Buchholz and Sonneborn-Berger.

Prize winners in the Open section were as follows:

Overall

  • First Place: IM Elijah Emojong (Equity Bank) – 6.5 pts
  • Second Place: Dr Jacob Onditi – 6 pts
  • Third Place: James Madol Panchol (Kenya Commercial Bank) – 6 pts
  • Fourth Place: Mehul Gohil (Nairobi Chess Club) – 6 pts
  • Fifth Place: Bryan Toboso Akhanyinya (Deadly Bishops) – 6 pts

Ladies

  • First Place: Daphne Mwikali (Equity Bank) – 4.5 pts
  • Second Place: Pranjal Ameetkumar Parikh (Anchor Chess Club) – 4 pts
  • Third Place: WCM Joyce Nyaruai (Technical University of Kenya) – 4 pts

University Players

  • First Place: Ronald Bolo (Strathmore University) – 5 pts
  • Second Place: Nickson Munge (Strathmore University) – 4 pts
  • Third Place: Paul Kafuko (Makerere University) – 4 pts

Juniors (Under 18)

  • First Place: Jeff Gichuki (Elimu House Schools) – 5 pts
  • Second Place: Brian Kariuki Waweru (Anchor Chess Club) – 4.5 pts
  • Third Place: Keith Ndungu (Elimu House Schools) – 4 pts
  • Best Unrated Player: Dr Victor Ng’ani – 5 pts
  • Best Club Team: Equity Bank Nairobi Chess Club – 21 points from top 4 players
  • Best University Team: Strathmore University – 17 points from top 4 players
  • Best School Team: Elimu House Schools – 16.5 points from top 4 players
Prize winners from the Open section pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Prize winners from the Open section pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey

The revelation of the tournament was Elimu House Schools’ Jeff Gichuki who not only won the Under 14 section tournament with a 100% score but also finished 9th overall in the Open section after defeating top players such as Uganda’s Francis Obita (1864) and CM William Wachania Wachira (1918).

Jeff Gichuki receiving his prize for First Place in the Under 14 Section / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Jeff Gichuki receiving his prize for First Place in the Under 14 Section / Photo by Allan Rongoey

This was the second edition of the HCK Open after it’s revival last year and saw big names in Kenya’s corporate sphere come on board as sponsors: Cytonn Investments (title sponsor), Chandaria Industries (gift hampers) and South Lemon (gift hampers). The total cash prize fund was KES 82,000 and a total of 46 prizes (trophies, cash, gift hampers and gift vouchers) were awarded in all 6 sections.

The organising team comprised of Kumar Sheth (Hindu Council of Kenya, Youth and Sports Directorate), Paras Gudka (Motochess Ventures) and Tejal Sheth (Hindu Council of Kenya).

Organisers and sponsors pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Organisers and sponsors pose for a group photo / Photo by Allan Rongoey

The arbitration team comprised of FA (FIDE Arbiter) Paras Gudka, NA (National Arbiter) Terence Chazima, NA James Mwangi Kang’aru, NA Hannah Muthoni Wangari and Peter Diing (Trainee).

Arbiters NA Terence Chazima (in the background) and NA James Mwangi Kang'aru at work / Photo by Allan Rongoey
Arbiters NA Terence Chazima (in the background) and NA James Mwangi Kang’aru at work / Photo by Allan Rongoey

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