The event is a first for Kenya - A chess match between one of the famous Dutch chess clubs and a select Kenyan side consisting of the best six players in the country to be held over the internet. The aim of the event is to uplift Kenyan chess standards via exposure to strong opposition in the form of International Grandmasters and Masters.
The event sponsors are Safaricom and Wageningen Chess Club (of Netherlands). The Safaricom 3G mobile internet connection will be used and will highlight the capabilities of the newly landed fibre-optic cable that will enable fast relay of chess moves over the internet. The playing portal is the Playchess site which is managed by Chessbase, the world's premier chess software distributor.
The organiser for the event is Nairobi Chess Club which is the oldest registered chess institution in the country having been active since 1958.
The Kenyan team, known as the 'Kenyan Simbas', are represented by the the six best players in the country on current form. They are:
1. Ben Magana - The most dominant Kenyan player of the 21st century. He is currently ranked 2nd in the country. Has represented Kenya internationally in 3 Olympiads (World Team Championships), the 2007 All Africa Games where he narrowly missed on a bronze medal, and in the 2007 African Chess Championships where he created one of the biggest upsets in African chess by beating Grandmaster Ahmed Adly of Egypt who is also the reigning World Junior Champion.
2. Peter Gilruth - A naturalised Kenyan he is also the country's most experienced international player. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the country and is the reigning National Champion. He is also the captain of the Kenya Simbas team.
3. Ben Nguku - Is currently ranked No. 3 in the country. His high quality of play has attracted the analytical interest of some of the foremost chess specialists in the world. One of his games from the 2004 Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy was of such class that Grandmaster Nigel Short (who challaged Gary Kasparov for the World Championship in 1993) analysed it in depth for the Daily Telegraph's famous chess column.
4. Mehul Gohil - He is probably the strongest player to have never represented the country internationally. Locally, he has a reputation for being among the fastest thinkers of the game.
5. Githinji Hinga - He is the fastest rising talent inn Kenya at the moment. A welcome addition ot the Kenyan elite his electrifying style of play is eye-catching.
6. Akello Atwoli - Over the last 2 years Akello has established himself as one of the most succesful local tournament players. He has also improved very fast and was the best Kenyan performer at the All Africa Games of 2007.
The team Kenya Simbas will be facing are the Wageningen Chess Club who have on their team none other than Grandmaster Jan Timman and International Master Afek. Jan Timman is one of the acknowledged legends of the game. He has won the tough Dutch chess championships a record nine times. In 1979, a string of impressive international tournament victories propelled him to the World No.2 spot behind then World Champion Anatoly Karpov. Later on he even challenged for top honours against Karpov in their 1993 World Championship match. Jan Timman is also considered one of the best opening theoreticians of the chess world and has authored several classic chess books.
Wageningen chess club will constitute the strongest challenge Kenyan players have ever face