"My opponent left a glass of whisky 'en prise' and I took it 'en passant". - Henry Blackburne | SINCE 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007


The chess Kenya AGM held on Saturday caused a lot of complications that the elections were postponed for 3 months. Here are my views on the whole saga.
1. The present chess Kenya administration has done little to boost chess in Kenya
2. Kenyan chess players must play by the rules, if the constitution says you have to be a member to vote then the rule stands.
3. The 'Nairobi chess clique think they are the only ones to run chess in Kenya.
4. To attract sponsorship all this issues have to be sorted out
5. The chairman must be someone of high repute and one who can woo sponsors.
6. Active chess players should not be elected to demanding jobs
7. The all African games debacle shows how corrupt the present CK administration is.
8. A new breed of brilliant leaders must be elected but not the checkmates radicals who are trying a revolution that will eventually be more corrupt than the current one



By Mehul Gohil
The AGM happened. No, elections did not happen...the chess players managed to create enough complications so as not to give Stanley Luruti that sort of satisfaction. What happened was that the ChessKenya constitution was exposed as being so rubbish that the elections were postponed for 3 months so that membership criteria as regards the constitution can be overhauled and a fresh take put in place.

I was there for an hour over a lunch break and this is what I witnessed (In No particular Order):


The Hero of the whole day. Just when everyone thought he was the biggest noise maker in Kenyan CHess History the guy actually showed what a professional he was in these sorts of situations. His arguments were very good and it was clear from the faces of Larry Kagambi and Stanley Luruti that they were exasperated with the guy. He talked alot of sense and not surprisingly was made chairman of the committee that is to look into this crap consitution that we have.


I really feel sorry for this guy. You could see from his face and body posture how disillusioned he was with the whole thing. He pointed out to Larry and Stanley that there was no way kenyan would pay membership fees for ChessKenya without there being anything done in return by CK.


I knew that this dude stank but I had no idea he was a baboon as well. The man clearly had no bloody comprehension of why the AGM was taking place. His thoughts were totally out of place and he went rambling on about technicalities and other related nonsense. Clearly he has no conception of how to run a chess office simply because he has no idea what the Kenyan Chess Players want. He was being told what they wanted but obviously he was present there to only be reelected. I was shocked to realise that he lacks intelligence. Kagambi may be corrupt but at least he has that. This guy should be lynched...no kidding! I really hated the way he made the true chess players at the AGM feel like third class citizens who didn't deserve respect. Whenever they wanted to make a point he simply ignored them...Ben Magana actually had to tell him that he had been raising his hand for 30 minutes and Stanley was not letting him talk. He was dressed in a Suit, matching trousers, tie and shirt.


There was some discussion about a website that was designed by Hesbom Omanjo for ChessKenya and questions were asked why CK didn't operate a website in the 21st century. Apparently there were no 'funds' available to pay Hesbom for the site so the idea went under. I volunteered to explain the whole story but Stanley decided that the matter had already been discussed and didn't need further pursuing. However, some players decided I should be allowed to speak and I explained that I had seen the site Hesbom had designed and said that it was world class and comparable to the likes of ChessBase. I told the CK guys that it was so good that I asked Hesbom if I could buy it off. Hesbom initially indicated to me that he had commited the project to CK...3 months went by and Hesbom got in touch with me and said that CK was showing no interest in the website and asked if I still wanted it. I grabbed it with both hands (Launch expected in 2 weeks time). The cost. A paltry 5000/= an amount which CK had no 'funds' for...an amount they could not gather in 3 months! (And we expect them to get us corporate sponsors!)

What they did not understand was that it is really expensive to develop a quality website and Hesbom managed to get one done because he had amazing contacts withing the IT society...friends who decided to DESIGN THE WEBSITE FOR FREE SIMPLY BECAUSE HESBOM ASKED THEM TO. CK will probably spend 30-50k just to get any new website to the level of the one that I now own. I volunteered to give them free space on the website...they refused the idea. Too bad for them.


We have to realise that Larry is no fool. After all he is a stronger chess player than Steve Ouma and has been a former Kenya Champ. He was very diplomatic at the AGM. He also sounded sensible. He was ready to overlook any controversial 'email blogging' and ready to support anyone with boards cloks CK support etc...even CHeckmates and Radical personalities like myself. He was full of good sales pitches. However, despite all his cleverness he is a part of the evil forces and stands for alot of what is bad in Kenyan Chess....and thats why he will be hated.


I was not impressed by the absence of people (and friends) like Paul Maloba, Githinji, Khaduli and others. They were making such an emphasis that the players should all turn up in force. I was working on the day and actually wasn't going to make it to the AGM but made some small time...I thought I had to support what was right. I don't know if they turned up later on. The fact was, the true chess players were outnumbered by guys who I had never seen before. If it wasn;t for the pursuasiveness of Solman, Magana and Singe Luruti would already have been confirmed for another 4 years. Perhaps this lack of commitment to the game by players is one major reason why we are in the doldrums.


By Augustine Hwata

Chess International master Robert Gwaze is now aiming to become Zimbabwe's first ever grandmaster following his sensational win at the African Individual Chess Championship in Namibia last week.

The 2007 All-Africa Games silver medallist is now just one major championship win away from being crowned a grandmaster. For now, the 25-year-old is an international master but he is focusing on earning the prestigious title of grandmaster when he takes part at the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus in November. "The win in Namibia gave me my second grandmasters norm and if I manage to get a third norm, then I became a full grandmaster. "At the moment I have 2 413 points and need to reach 2 500 on the next championship so that I qualify to be a grandmaster. READ MORE


After 9 rounds Viswanathan Anand leads.With no loss so far and a 2900+ perfomance his challange may be unstoppable.

Current standings

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Friday, September 21, 2007


The 2007 chess Kenya AGM will take place tomorrow at the nyayo national stadium. Various lineups have been suggested with the likes of ken omollo and larry kagambi being suggested for chairman.


Ben Magana recently competed in the African championships in Namibia. on the way he defeated a GM. Although he failed to achieve 4.5/9 for FIDE master status he had a good outing.

By Ben Magana, Kenyan champion

Magana’s opponents:
Round 1: Simutowe (IM) 2421
Round 2: Adly (GM) 2488
Round 3: Walaa (IM) 2388
Round 4: Matewere
Round 5: Abdelnabi (IM) 2484
Round 6: Chitumbo (IM) 2163
Round 7: Adu (IM) 2294
Round 8: Nadir (CM) 2163
Round 9: Masango 2140

First of all, I would like to thank all players in Kenya that sent motivational and congratulatory messages on SMS and e-mail. Kenyan chess players were for once united in rallying behind something positive and encouraging for Kenyan chess.

I scored 3 points / 9 in a hugely strong and competitive field. Of the 9 players I played, one was a GM and 5 were IM’s. Of these, the Zambian Simutowe already has 3 GM norms and will get the GM title once his rating surpasses 2500. The 8 rated players I played had an average rating of 2318, which is way above any average I have encountered in any tournament – regional or international.

I started my tournament decently enough, scoring 3 / 6, but faded badly in the last 3 rounds with 3 losses, to finish with 3 / 9. There are several reasons for this:
1. My opponents were all extremely strong, even the 2100s!
2. I am used to 6- or 7-round events in Kenya, while this 9-rounder was too long for me and I lost concentration toward the end (burn-out)
3. My tournament preparation was very limited, as I had little chess literature and no laptop (extremely important for such situations) in Namibia

For lack of adequate historical fact, I would dare to assume that I am the first Kenyan player ever to beat a GM. The 20-year old Ahmed Adly from Egypt was the 2006 African champion, not to mention first (and long overdue) Egyptian to get the GM title. He was also a gold medallist at the recent 9th All Africa Games in Algiers. It was not at all easy beating this immensely talented Pharaoh, especially since he had lost his first round game and was in a BAD mood. But I had also lost my first game and was in a WORSE mood, hence not at all being intimidated by the GM title. So how does it feel for a nobody like me to (convincingly) beat a GM? It feels heavenly… in Namibia they were calling it A HOLE IN ONE for me. Like the classic David vs. Goliath duel that ended in a skull-shattering victory for the shepherd Jewish boy, my victory was for all the talented Kenyan players (past, present and future) who may ever feel psychologically inferior to titled players (IM, GM) whenever they square off in a game. ardy exchanged off his dark-squared bishop in an innocuous-looking position, but some wayward un-GM moves by him slowly gave me the edge. Exactly on move 25, I offered him a draw, which he promptly ignored. Ten moves later, the tables were turned – a nervous-looking and blushing GM mustered the best English he could to offer me a draw. I ignored him without batting an eyelid. The rest is history…

[Event "Africa Individual Championships"]
[Site "Windhoek, NAMIBIA"]
[Date "2007.09.02"]
[Round "2.15"]
[White "Magana, Ben"]
[Black "Adly, Ahmed"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B50"]
[WhiteElo "2151"]
[BlackElo "2488"]
[PlyCount "95"]
[WhiteTeam "KENYA"]
[BlackTeam "EGYPT"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c3 Nf6 4. h3 g6 5. Bd3 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 Nc6 8. Bf1 Bd7 9. d4 cxd4 10. cxd4 d5 11. e5 Ne4 12. Nbd2 Bf5 13.Nb3 a5 14. a4 f6 15. exf6 Bxf6 16. Bh6 Rf7 17. Rc1 Qd6 18. Nc5 Nxc5 19. dxc5 Qd7 20. Ng5 Bxg5 21. Bxg5 e5 22. Bb5 e4 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Qd4 Rb8 25. Bd2
{Diagram #}
Qc7 26. Bc3 Rg7 27. Qd2 Rd7 28. Qd4 Rg7 29. Qd2 Re7 30. Bxa5 Qa7 31.b4 Rf7 32. Qd4 Re8 33. Rc3 h6 34. Ra1 g5 35. Rb3 Kh7 36. Bb6 Qa8 37. b5 Bd7 38.Bc7 Qb7 39. Bd6 Bc8 40. Rab1 Bd7 41. bxc6 Qxc6 42. a5 Qa8 {Diagram #}
43. Rb7 Qxa5 44. Qxd5 Kg6 45. Be5 Be6 46. Qxe4+ Bf5 47. R1b6+ Qxb6 48. Rxb6+ 1-0

To cap off an exciting tournament for me, I flummoxed, bamboozled and ultimately sneaked on the hugely talented Zambian IM Mwali Chitumbo in a losing position for myself. Chitumbo is the current Africa Junior chess champ, not to mention the Zambian champion, and silver medallist at the 9th All Africa Games – do not be fooled by his low 2163 rating. Now THAT victory was for all the Kenyan speed chess and blitz players who can string together a few decent moves – especially the vibrant members at Checkmates Chess Club (Githinji, et al). I jettisoned a pawn for an apparent attack. My position went from the HDU to the ICU, but in the process my opponent moved farther and farther back on the clock. Towards the end of the game, Mwali was playing on bare seconds. I guess pressure made him fall headlong into a poorly concealed mate trap!

[Event "Africa Individual Championships"]
[Site "Windhoek, NAMIBIA"]
[Date "2007.09.06"]
[Round "6.17"]
[White "Chitumbo, Mwali"]
[Black "Magana, Ben"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E01"]
[WhiteElo "2163"]
[BlackElo "2151"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[WhiteTeam "ZAMBIA"]
[BlackTeam "KENYA"]

1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 Nbd7 7. Qc2 c6 8. Rd1 Qe7 9. Nbd2 e5 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. Nf3 Qh5 14. Qb3 Be6 15. Qxb7 Bc5 16. Bf4 Ne4 17. e3 g5 18. Rxd5 Bxd5 19. Qxd5 Rad8 20. Qxe4 gxf4 21. gxf4 Rfe8 22. Qc2 Rd6 23. Ng5 Bb6 24. Bf3 Qh4 25. Qf5 Re7 26. Bd5 Qh5 27. Bf3 Qh4 28. Rc1 Rd2 29. Rf1 Bxe3 30. Qc8+ Kg7 31. Qc3+ Kg8 32. Qc8+ Kg7 33. Nh3 Bxf4 34. Kh1 Rd6 35. Bg4 Rg6 36.Bf5 Rg5 37. Nxg5 Qxh2# 0-1

Even though I did not get the needed 50% score to become a FIDE Master like Gateri, I feel I crossed a frontier that few get to experience. Thus, my defeat of Africa’s best was immensely more satisfying in this sense. I look forward to my next great HOLE IN ONE.
Before leaving for Namibia, I was asked what my aim for the event was. I looked forward to upsetting a few big names, as well as to finishing in a respectable position. Even though I did not quite achieve the latter aim, I more than made up for it by beating 2 African champions in one tournament – senior and junior.

As for what all this augurs for Kenyan chess, I think the future can only be brighter. There are many talented juniors out there who can go and do even more awe-inspiring things…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It seems chess titles are flying left right and centre and east africans are not left behind. steve kawuma recently gained FIDE master status. Who is next?

By Lambert Rusoke,Kampala

WIZARD Stephen Kawuma has achieved the status of FIDE Master(FM) following a splendid display against very highly rated titled players at the Africa Individual Chess Championship that just ended in Windhoek, Namibia over the weekend.

A FIDE Master is a prestigious title that precedes the International Master (IM) and later the Grand Master (GM).

Kawuma beat Mozambique's Chambule Pedro Lucas in the 7th round before losing to Zambia's Chumfwe Stanley in the 8th round.

The Ugandan recovered to beat FM Alice Mateus Felizardo Viageirof in the 9th and final round to finish with 4.5 points out of 9.

A 50% performance in such a highly rated tournament featuring the continent's top players grants a player the right to become a FIDE Master (FM).

more info:
Monitor Newspaper


As we approach the chess Kenya AGM, john mukabi has gone down memory lane to bring us up to date with some history of Kenyan chess. Enjoy this wonderful reading from the beast.

John Mukabi with Nigel short.

By John 'the beast' mukabi
The association (formerly Kenya Chess Association) was formed some 31 years ago this month in September 1976. I was in primary school then!?

1976-197?: An Asian descent man whom little is known ran it til late '70s. It is reported the association was too new to go to the Olympiad that year in Argentina.

1979?-1989: Madan Gopal Sharma a famous lawyer. I arrived in the scene around 1982 to find an aura of secrecy regarding who other officials were. It was like a "state secret". Clement Miheso and Alslam Adam (now in England) were visible "officials" in tournaments.

Olympiad teams were handpicked from tournament results used to get airtickets easily & mysteriously through MG as he was known via FIDE and Kenya National Sports Council. It is said he was their lawyer.

At the time Aluta Chess Club ( from French aluta continua or "the struggle continues") came about to counter Nairobi Chess Club which was mainly Asians and Whites.

Largest tournement was Pan Paper Open (now Kenya Open) brought by Nairobi Chess Club (1979-1992). Aluta brought in ART (African Retail Traders) Open 1984 to early '90s.
The chess league was nationwide in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nyeri and Webuye mainly 1986-1990. Had about 15 teams mostly financial institions. So vibrant was chess that toournaments had upto 120 players.

International Master Lodewijk Prins (Holland), a Hungarian IM and GM Jaime Sunya Neto visted Kenya for simuls between 1986 and 1989. Also former Junior British Champ Allan Baker came finishing 2nd behing Uganda's Emmanuel Kabuye.

Juniors Peter Kihara and William Juma Arogo represented Kenya in Lagos, Nigeria, with Juma coming second!

1989-1992: Clement Miheso came in with the Esso School Championships which were in Nakuru, Mombasa and Nairobi. An annual event til 1993. As a result FIDE awarded Nairobi the African Junior Championship in 1992 and 1993. Aderito Pedro of Angola won the 1993 edition.

Also in the event among Kenyans were Matthew Kanegeni and Evanson Mwangi.
1990 saw Kenya play in first FIDE rated in Kampala where Lawrence Kagambi (present CK Secretary played). I got ELO 2215. William Juma again went for the junior event in Harare, Zimbabwe, same year.

Miheso began to get corrupt so much that he gave bouncing cheques to winners of Panpaper. Players camped at the sponsors' office. Panpaper withdrew for good!

It so happened by then that Miheso controlled bank accounts of KCA, Aluta and Nairobi CC and reported to have have bought a car from one of the two FIDE events.He was kicked out by a landslide in 1993 elections.

1993-1996: The late Tom Sagwe who was MD at ART and among founding fathers of Aluta took over. He was largely absent concentrating on politics leaving all the spadework to his vice Francis Caetano Rodriguez.

Kenya held and international 1993 Africa Juniors under new office and alongside it staged an International Open which was 1-2-3 won by Angolans among them IM Nascimento.

I was sent to the Africa Individual Mens' Championship by KCA in Cairo, Egypt. KNSC supplied the airticket. The Panpaper changed its name to Kenya Open. The 1993 edition at Braeburn School had highest number of entries in East and Central Africa at 250!

By this time, the Kenyan economy was limping while the Goldenberg affair (unknown to the public at the time) quietly went on. Sponsors were hard to come by. This saw Kenya miss out for the first time from the world chess Olympiads - 1992, 1994 and 1996.

This culminated in the 1994 Kenya Open fail to take place for the first time since 1979. However, great cal-IBM Kenya Open of 1995 at The Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi attracted about 150 players from Uganda and South Africa (Lyndon Bouah) among others.

I recall Daniels Lauritsen taking part and he placed 2nd or 3rd. In 1996 the Kenya Open at Nairobi Gymkhana was won by South African IM Watu Kobese followed by compatriot FM Shabbir Bhawoodien.

1996-1999: FCA Rodriguez was elected the new KCA chairman. Sponsorship was still a problem but after a lot of struggles, Kenya hosted the 1997 Africa Junior Championship won by 16-year-old Amon Simutowe of Zambia.

The office experienced a number of scams involving the selling of chess sets, literature and clocks donated by FIDE and the German government. Also, the Indian Ocean Olympiad scam where some officials and their spouses went to represent Kenya in Reunion or Mauritius!

Meanwhile, Kenya was being represented in the Africa Individual Mens 1996/1997 by Humphrey Andolo, the late Alexander Makatia, Joseph Kanyingi, Ben Magana and Kenneth Omolo.

In bid to make amends, the office managed to send a team to the Olympiad in 1998 in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia. This was not enough to save them from wrath of players who voted them out in 1999.

1999-2003: In came Lincoln Njenga elected at AGM after postponement due to membership crisis AGAIN! He started off very strongly only to fade off as usual like his predecessors.

First was to set Kenya Anti Corruption Authority (KACA) on the FCA Rodriguez and company on all assets with documentary evidence. FCA "submerged", even appearing to change residence and recovery was in vain.

It further emerged that previous office maintained oddly two bank accounts at Biashara Bank - one where the treasurer was a signatory and other where he was not even aware! Approximately KShs 90,000/= was withdrawn days before the AGM which threw them out.

Anyway, Njenga's watch saw the highest prize monies in KCA's history. Started with the great Eldoret Open in 2000 organised in conjunction with Eldoret Chess Club. Top prize KShs. 40,000/= (was meant to be KShs 100,000/= but some sponsors did not honour pledge).

Then came the much talked about Tusker Malt Open by Kenya Breweries the same year in September at The Stanley. Top prize was KShs. 40,000/= though overall sponsorship was KShs 800,000/=.

It was awarded best organised tournament by FIDE with aggressive marketing in the print and electronic media, banners on main streets, etc. Opening ceremony featured dancers on a giant chessboard like many Olympiads. Challengers section was introduced to Kenyan chess.

The Istanbul (Turkey) Olympiad of 2000 was partly sponsored by Kenya Breweries and for the first time in years no players were asked chip in for their airtickets.

The Regional event in 1991 was the highest of cash prizes with top getting KShs 50,000/= won by Bob Bibasa of Uganda. The youth programes were revived for both primary schools and secondary with sponsors Athi River Mining Company (Rhino Cement) and Fidelity Commercial Bank for two years. Juniors were sent every year to world events as a result.

The national league, which seems to have disappeared large scale with Miheso in early '90s, was revived for one season attracting about ten teams. The Monthly Mug Rapids were also introduced but died out after months.

Problems started when no major tournament was organised by CK in 2002 leading to agitation of the office's removal. Only four players were sent to Olympiad of 2002 in Bled, Slovenia, Rhino Cement pulled out of primary schools training program, etc.

Despite being the first office to present fully audited accounts in the AGM of 2003, the wave was too much leading to the new office being voted in. Again, the membership problem surfaced!

2003-????: Stanley Luruti who was last in chess in 1991 with ICIPE Chess club was voted in as chairman with a narrow win over Fred Nabangi.

As you all know he appears to be largely absent but his watch revived a magazine for the association which went on for a year then faded. The rest I leave to you to judge in the coming AGM.

Friday, September 14, 2007




The 2007 world chess championships have started in mexico city.

Vladimir Kramnik
Peter Svidler
Alexander Morozevich
Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand
Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk
Peter Leko

official website
Live games, news and analysis chessbase

Robert Gwaze is the African Champion

ZIMBABWE'S International Master Robert Gwaze was crowned the new African Individual Chess Champion on Monday night after emerging undefeated in the 10-day tournament.

Gwaze (25) will now represent Africa at the World Chess Championship in Russia in November. He beat 50 other top African players including Egyptian Grand Masters Slim Belkhodja, Amin Bassem and Ahmed Adly, among others.He is now rated top GM norm, and will become a Grand Master if he wins his next competitive tournament.

This will take to 2 the number of african grandmasters from sub saharan africa after Amon Simutowe

the chess drum

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Dear Members,

I refer you to the above subject and inform you that this year's Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday,22nd September 2007 at the Kenya National Sports Council's boardroom,Nyayo National Stadium starting at 10:00am.

The Agenda will be:

i) To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting

ii) To discuss and conclude any matters arising thereupon

iii) To receive and adopt the Report of the Chairperson,the Treasurer,and the Annual Statements of Accounts

iv) To hold elections for members of the Executive Committee

v) To Appoint the auditors for the Society

vi) To Adopt or reject any resolutions received by the General Secretary within at least fourteen(14) days' written notice in advance of the meeting

With warm regards,

Lawrence Kagambi
General Secretary

PS: Due to engagements related to the 9th All Africa Games,we could not convene the AGM as per the constitution and kindly ask you for your understanding.More information on the elections to be released soon.See attachment for upcoming events.


Being a military man i have been keenly following the NATO chess championships. But Elisabeth Pähtz is leading the championship.

Think she can play chess?


Gm Ben Magana?

Kenya number 1 Ben Magana is competing in the african championships being held in wendihoek Namibia. His perfomance so far has been interesting.

After winning the recent checkmates championships with a 7/7 score, Ben magana headed down south to compete aganaist the best of africa. In round 1 he was grounded to a halt by GM amon simutowe but in round 2 as mehul put it
"You have managed to achieve the task which the strongest players in Kenya, stretching from Saif kanani to Humphrey Andolo, failed to achieve -- that of becoming the first Kenyan to beat a Grandmaster in proper over the board chess."

the tournament is ongoning and more results will be posted ASAP.


Ben's perfomance so far
Rd. SNo Name Rtg FED Pts. Res.
1 7 IM Simutowe Amon 2421 ZAM 3,5 s 0
2 3 GM Adly Ahmed 2488 EGY 2,0 w 1
3 9 IM Sarwat Walaa 2388 EGY 3,0 s 0
4 41 Matewere Henry 0 MAW 1,0 w 1
5 4 IM Abdelnabbi Imed 2484 EGY 2,0 w

GM Amon Simutowe

Amon simutowe has become the first man from sub-saharn Africa to achive GM status. The zambezi shark achived this noble feat at the Euwe Stimulans.

more info:
The GM journey of Amon Simutowe
Simutowe is a GM
Amon Simutowe Biography