As a build up to the 39th Chess Olympiad to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, Kenyan chess blog will be running a fifteen part series of articles about Kenyan chess history in the Olympiad since 1980.
By Edwin Korir
The tournament was held from 20th November to 6th December 1980 in the city of La Valletta, Malta. Malta was rewarded to host the 24th Chess Olympiad for its efforts to maintain unity and peace within the FIDE, following the successive Haifa events and the shuttle peace talks by Malta’s representative between the late Harry Golombek (UK) and Libya where the Counter Olympiad had taken place. This was the first time ever that the greatest chess-team manifestation, the 1980 Olympiad, was held in such a small state with a limited budget but nonetheless a great history. A small island in the middle of the Mediterranean with a language of its own, Malta has been participating in International Chess since the 1930’s. It welcomed Alexander Alekhine in 1935 and before World War II had already fielded two Maltese Nationals in Foreign International Events. The playing conditions at the Mediterranean Conference Center were excellent. The players were all comfortably playing in one huge hall whereas the Congress was held in the large theater under the same roof surrounded by the other smaller halls where the other Committees took place. Accommodation and transport were fairly efficient. 83 nations were represented with for the first time under the same roof Israel and Libya, USSR and China!
Saif Kanini 9.5/12
Adan Aslam 4.5/11
K Donde 1/6
Edwin Kinyajui 4.5/11
S Oulo 0/4
The Kenyan team to the 24th chess Olympiad consisted of Saif Kanini(chessleo), Adan Aslam, Ken Yongo, Ken Donde, Edwin Kinyanjui (1st reserve) and Ken S. Oulo(2nd reserve). Kenyan chess governing body had recently been affiliated with FIDE, other countries that had recently joined include Antigua, Brunei, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe thus increasing the number of affiliated nations to 114. Saif Kanini playing on board one scored the highest position ever achieved by a Kenyan when he won silver with a score of 9.5/12. He won 9, drawed 3 and lost 1. His tournament performance rating was 2402. Kenya emerged at position 70 with a score of 14.5/56 after winning 18, drawing 13 and losing 25. The second best Kenyan was Edwin Kinyanjui at position 34 (+3=5-5), he was followed by Adan Aslam at position 59 (+2=5-4). Yongo (+4=2-6) and Donde (+1=0-5) followed. S Oulo who was second reserve scored a miserable +0=0-4.
Bobby Fishers score sheet in a previous Olympiad
The David-Goliath parings of round one was not favourable to Kenya. The top two Kenyans Saif kanini and Adan Aslam did not play in this round but were replaced by the reserves. This was due to Kanini loosing his passport on his way to Malta.
Ken Yongo(0) Myagmarsuren(1)
Peruv Yumurbator(1) Ken Donde(0)
Edwin Kinyanjui(0) Peruv Jigjidsuren(1)
Lhagua Jambaidoo(1) Ken Oulo(0)
[White "Yongo KEN"] [Black "Myagmarsuren, Lhamsuren MGL"][Result "0-1"][Date "1980.11.20"]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bd3 O-O 9.O-O a6 10.a4 Re8 11.Re1 Nbd7 12.Bf4 Qc7 13.Qc2 Nh5 14.Be3 Ne5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Rf1 Nf4 17.g3 Nxd3 18.Qxd3 Qe7 19.f3 f5 20.Rae1 fxe4 21.fxe4 b5 22.Qd2 Bh3 23.Rf2 Qd7 24.Ne2 bxa4 25.Bf4 Bh8 26.Nc3 Bd4 27.Be3 Bxc3 28.Qxc3 Rxe4 29.Rf4 Rae8 30.Bd2 Rxe1+ 31.Bxe1 Qe7 32.Bd2 Qe2 33.Qf3 Qxd2 34.Re4 Qc1+ 0-1
After the round one humiliation Kenya scored its first draw aganaist the home country. Ken Yongo was the man who scored the points. The top two pair of Kanini and Aslam did not still play so the two reserves got their chance to play.
Wilfred Attard(0.5) Ken Yongo(0.5)
Ken Donde(0) Henry Camilleri(1)
Andriano Gounder(1) Edwin Kinyanjui(0)
Ken Oulo(0) Joseph Gauici(1)
[White "Gouder, Adriano MLT"][Black "Kinyanjui, Edwin KEN"][Result "1-0"][EventDate "1980.11.20"]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Be3 e6 8.O-O Qc7 9.Kh1 Be7 10.f4 O-O 11.Qe1 b5 12.a3 Bb7 13.Bd3 Rfe8 14.Qg3 Bf8 15.e5 dxe5 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.fxe5 Nh5 18.Qg5 g6 19.Bf4 Qb7 20.Rae1 Nxf4 21.Rxf4 Rac8 22.Be4 Be7 23.Qg3 Bxe4 24.Nxe4 Rxc2 25.Qf3 Qc6 26.Rxf7 Rc1 27.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 28.Qf1 Qxb2 29.Nd6 Bxd6 30.exd6 Qxa3 31.d7 Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Qxf8 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 34.d8=Q+ 1-0
[White "Oulo, S. KEN"][Black "Gauci, Joseph MLT"][Result "0-1"][ECO "B52"]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.O-O Nc6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 Ng8 11.a3 Nge7 12.Ng5 h6 13.Nf3 h5 14.Ng5 Nf5 15.Be3 Be7 16.Nf3 Bd8 17.b4 Bb6 18.Qd3 Rc8 19.Nbd2 Bd8 20.Nb3 b6 21.Rec1 Nxe3 22.fxe3 O-O 23.Qb5 Nxe5 24.Qxd7 Rxc1+ 25.Nxc1 Nxd7 26.Nd3 b5 27.Rc1 Nb6 28.Kf2 Nc4 29.Rc3 Bf6 30.Nc5 Rc8 31.Nd7 Be7 32.Nde5 f6 33.Ng6 Kf7 34.Nf4 g6 35.h4 Nd6 36.Rxc8 Nxc8 37.Ne1 Nd6 38.Ned3 Nc4 39.Nc5 Bxc5 40.dxc5 Nxa3 41.Nd3 Nc4 42.Ke2 0-1
The gradual rise of Kenya in terms of points countinued in round three. Saif Kanini entered the fray to score the first win for Kenya. Adam Aslam did not play in this round but was deputised by Edwin Kinyanjui who scored the half a point.
Kanani Saif(1) Kan Wai Shui(0)
Chao Philip(1) Yongo KEN(0)
Donde KEN(0) Luk Luen Wah(1)
Camm M(0.5) Kinyanjui Edwin(0.5)
Edwin Kinyanjui was the sole point winner for Kenya in this round with Kanini drawing. Aslam played his first game while Dode rested. Kinyanjui after the win had scored a respectable 1.5/4. Donde rested for nearly the rest of the tournament probably due to ilness.
Kanani, Saif(0.5) Fonseca de Oliveira, Mario Silas(0.5)
Adao Domingos, Agostinho(1) Adam, Aslam(0)
Kinyanjui Edwin(1) Ferreira, Rogerio(0)
Marques Alves, V(1) Oulo S. KEN(0)
[White "Kanani, Saifudin KEN"] [Result "1/2-1/2"][Date "1980.11.23"]
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Qe2 Nf6 9.Rd1 e5 10.h3 O-O 11.Be3 Be6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Rac1 Rc8 14.b4 a6 15.b5 axb5 16.Qxb5 Qe8 17.Qb3 Qd7 18.Ng5 Nd8 19.Na4 Rc6 20.Nc5 Rxc5 21.Rxc5 h6 22.Nf3 Qe8 23.Rc7 Nxe4 24.Qb4 Nf6 25.Nxe5 Nd5 26.Rxd5 exd5 27.Rxe7 Qxe7 28.Ng6 Qf6 29.Nxf8 Kxf8 30.Qd2 Qe6 31.Qa5 Ke7 32.Bd4 g6 33.Qc7+ Qd7 34.Bf6+ Ke8 35.Bxd8 Qxd8 36.Qxb7 Qg5 37.Qb2 Qe5 38.Qd2 g5 39.Kf1 Kd7 40.Qc2 Qa1+ 41.Ke2 Qe5+ 42.Kd1 Qd4+ 43.Kc1 Qa1+ 1/2-1/2
As kenya dropped down in the Swiss system, their games were bound to get easier. Kenyas next oppoents were the kingdom of Monaco; more known for Formula One than chess. The top two scored the points for kenya.
Caruana, Marcel(0) Kanani, Saifudin(1)
Adam, Aslam(1) Negro, Roberto(0)
Girault, Eric(1) Yongo K(0)
Kinyanjui, Edwin(0) Lepine, Robert(1)
The tournament Logo
The two East African neighbours met in round six. Kenyans ran rout aganaist Uganda with only Kinyanjui dropping half a point.
Kanani Saif(1) Zabasajja, Willy(0)
Musasira O(0) Adam, Aslam(1)
Yongo K(1) Mungyereza Amos(0)
Kamuhangire Silver(0.5) Kinyanjui Edwin(0.5)
At the halfway stage the bottom teams were now battling it out at the lower boards. Kenya's next opponents Liberia, were the second in three consecutive games aganaist African countries. Kanini continued with his exraordinary perfomance in board one.
Hingary, M(0) Kanani Saif(1)
Adam, Aslam(0.5) Tawengi, Ahmed Ali(0.5)
Elmejbri, Ali Abdoullah(1) Yongo K(0)
Kinyanjui Edwin(0.5) Benohman, Abu Ali(0.5)
Saif Kanini was so far playing like a wizard. With his win in this game he took his tally to 5.5/6! in board one!! In the olympiad!!! While the Nigerians made minced meat out of the remaining kenyan players. Donde played his first game after a 3 game absence.
Omuku, Emmanuel(0) Kanani Saif(1)
Adam Aslam(0) Agusto, Obafunmilayo(1)
Faseyitan, O(1) Donde K(0)
Oulo S(0) Ayoola, O(1)
The Swiss system was throwing Kenya up ad down the board. Kenya's next opponents, BERMUDA were demolished by a resurgent Kenyan team. The top two boards had strong players thus Kanini and Aslam drew their games. The bottom two pair did not dissapoint though.
Harris, Derek(0.5) Kanani Saif(0.5)
Adam Aslam(0.5) Radford, Michael(0.5)
Dill, James(0) Yongo K(1)
Donde K (1) Tee, Joseph(0)
KENYA(1.5) MALTA 2(2.5)
Kenya faced the second malta team losing closely. The top two boards provided the points with Kanini continuing with his extraodinary perfomance; the current score 7/8.
Kanani, Saif(1) Psaila, Mario(0)
Thake, Conrad(0.5) Adam, Aslam(0.5)
Yongo K(0) Vasallo, Ray(1)
Borg, Andrew(1) Donde K(1)
The points in this round were scored by Kanini and Aslam. Kanini's score now 8/9!
Gonda, Gentaro(0) Kanani, Saif(1)
Adam, Aslam(0.5) Takemoto, Hiroshi(0.5)
Shiraki, T(1) Yongo K(0)
Kinyanjui Edwin(0) Sakurai, Takayuki(1)
KENYA(3) Papau New Guinea(1)
Saif Kanini was temporarily halted in this round only managing to draw his game same as Aslam. Boards 3 and 4 scored maximum points aganaist the Pacific Islanders.
Kanani, Saif(0.5) Whyte, B(0.5)
Hothersall, Richard(0.5) Adam Aslam(0.5)
Yongo K(1) Marko Helmut(0)
Puru, Bill(0) Kinyanjui Edwin(1)
In the penultimate round, Kanini picked up another point to take his score to an amazing 9.5/11!
Santamaria Mas(0) Vicens Kanani, Saif(1)
Adam Aslam Clua(0) Ballague, Miguel(1)
Pantebre Martinez, Jose Antonio(0.5) Yongo K(0.5)
Kinyanjui Edwin(0) De la Casa, Angel(1)
KENYA(2) BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS(2)
In the last round Kanini was playing the game aganaist the leading player of the tournamet, william Hook of the british Virgin Islands. Hook had 10.5 points while Kanini had 9.5 and required a win to ensure a shared top finish. He instead dropped the only point in the Olympiad but that left him second in board 1. Kenya's point were scored in board 3 and 4.
Hook, William(1) Kanani, Saif(0)
Adam, Aslam(0) Jarecki, John(1)
Georges, Elton(0) Yongo K(1)
Kinyanjui, Edwin(1) Solomon, Raymond(0)
[White "Hook, William IVB"] [Black "Kanani, Saifudin KEN"] [Result "1-0"] [Date "1980.12.06"]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nbd7 6.Rb1 a6 7.a4 h6 8.Be3 Qb4 9.f3 Ne5 10.Bd2 Qb6 11.f4 Ng6 12.Bd3 Bg4 13.Qc1 Bd7 14.e5 dxe5 15.Bxg6 fxg6 16.fxe5 O-O-O 17.exf6 exf6 18.Nge2 Bg4 19.Be3 Bxe2 20.Kxe2 Qb4 21.Re1Bd6 22.h3 g5 23.Kf1 g4 24.hxg4 h5 25.g5 h4 26.Bf2 h3 27.gxh3 Rxh3 28.Re4 Qa5 29.Qd1 f5 30.Rh4 Rxh4 31.Bxh4 Qb4 32.Bf2 Qf4 33.Qh5 g6 34.Qh4 Qd2 35.Re1 Bf4 36.Rd1 Bxg5 37.Rxd2 Bxh4 1-0
The 1980 Olympiad was all about Saif Kanini. His acomplishments have not been equaled and may not be in our generation. Part two will look at the 1982 Olympiad.