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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kenya paired against powerhouse Russia in RD 1

Kenya faces Russia 5 in RD 5. Start time is today 3pm Kenya time. The encounter should prove a very tough challenge for Kenya as the Russia 5 team consists largely of juniors between the ages of 13-20 years who are on the upward swing and have been practising as recently as 2 weeks back in strong open tournaments in Western Europe. Russia 5 team line up is as follows:

1 IM Potapov Pavel 2464 RUS - AGE 20 Years
2 FM Kopylov Alexander A 2438 RUS - AGE 18 Years
3 Savitskiy Sergey 2373 RUS - AGE 15 Years
4 CM Yuffa Daniil 2235 RUS - AGE 13 Years
5 GM Prokopchuk Evgeny 2522 RUS (reserve) - AGE 32 years

The 13 year old Russian on Board 4 is an intriguing phenomenon. He started playing internationally 3 years ago and is on an upward swing. From his recent performance in the Czech International Open held only this month (which means he has had good warm up) the average rating of his opponents was ELO 2362 and he beat or drew with the following calibre of players:

FM Marcel Jorczik Elo 2389 (Beaten by Yuffa)
FM Manfred Heidrich Elo 2329 (Drew with Yuffa)
IM Atanu Lahiri Elo 2353 (Beaten by Yuffa)
FM Jiri Nun Elo 2362 (Drew with Yuffa)

Yuffa Daniil on the right in deep thought. Kenya Board 4 will be
taking on this young russian terror today at 3pm Kenya time.

It appears Yuffa's Elo rating (which jumped up by something like 50 plus elo points at the Czech International Open) of 2235 maybe misleading as he is playing better than that currently.

Fascinating battle in prospect and the Kenyan contingent must be feeling very privileged to be playing a Russian team on their homeground.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chessdrum publish Dubai 'Airport Olympiad' photos

Chessdrum continues to outclass the big budget chess websites like Chessbase and Chessvibes by providing amazing Olympiad 2010 coverage. Here are latest photos direct from Dubai Airport as posted on Chessdrum...photos by Nigerian player Lekan Ayedemi:

The Airport Olympiad?

The chessdrum website (www.thechessdrum.net) is currently providing some of the best information regarding the situation at the Dubai Airport where a number of African teams are holed up. Chessdrum has been in communication with a number of local chess officials accompanying the team and the reports indicate that sections of the airport are swarming with chess battles.

Here is an excerpt from the chessdrum blog detailing an interesting exchange between a Botswana official and Chessdrum webmaster Dr. Daaim Shabaaz:

Just heard from Kenneth Boikhutswane of Botswana who is stranded in the Dubai Airport now…

10:45am Kenny
Hello Daaim! hope you well. You coming to the olympiad?

10:45am Daaim
No. I will not be there. Are you traveling today?

10:48am Kenny
Yeah. Stranded in Dubai airport. Our charter moved to tomorrow and we never received correspondence despite my follwoing up and them confirming that we on the Sunday charter. Got here 5am and we board tomorrow at 0930 for Khanty. Its s big inconvenience, not even sure that we on the 0930 charter despite them confirming again today by email that we on it. you can imagine what it does to the players, 28 hours in the airport!

10:49am Daaim
Yes… there were several changes.

So you cannot disembark? Too expensive?

10:52am Kenny
tried that roiute but way too expensive. would have had to pay visa each at U$157 dollars for 13 people. Hotel here at airport going at U$ 286 for two. There is no guarantee that if we paid we would get refunded despite claims to that, so we decided to play it safe

10:53am Daaim

I’m posting this on the blog.

10:54am Daaim
What other federations are there? I hear that the Kenyans are there.

10:56am Kenny
We have Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Burundi, Malawi, and two teams from Asia I have seen. There could be others around the airport i havent seen.

10:59am Kenny
Zambia had their letter infoeming them of the changes dated 16th Sept! I am concerned about whether we will have accomodation as per our payments, especially for the single rooms.

11:00am Daaim
It appears to be very disorganized. Keep me informed. Will you be sending stories to the news?

11:03am Kenny
I will sending out reports to bots on progress of Bots team, as I try to come out of ‘retirement’. I will send you reports as well

11:07am Daaim
I’m sorry to hear about the problems. I have been covering them on The Drum. I penned an essay about the potential problems.

11:10am Kenny
how on earth does someone change flight details 2 days prior to departure as if we are using a bus?its a shame really, coz changing tickets means more costs for federations. and with such a short timeframe, there isnt much one can do

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ESPN to cover Team Uganda in Russia

New Vision and Chessdom are reporting that ESPN is going to exclusively cover the Ugandan National team at this years olympiad.

14 year old Phiona Mutesi who is a part of the ladies squad is going to be the focus of the ESPN attention.

Uganda have the strongest juniors in East Africa and this will be the first time for an African team to be covered by a big sports media organisation.

Team Kenya stranded in Dubai for 24hrs

The Kenyan contingent to the 2010 Russia Olympiad has not been spared the complexities of the ongoing FIDE Charter Flight scandal. Reports trickling in suggest the team has now been forced to spend 24hrs at the Dubai Airport whilst they wait for the next plane out. Kenyan super-talent Akello Atwoli who is tipped to produce a show-stopping performance alongside players like GM Morozevich and GM Ahmed Adly bluntly stated:

"CK (Chess Kenya) apparently recieved communication from FIDE informing them that our flight to Russia from Dubai had been rescheduled/postponed by 24hrs but they went ahead and brought us here as if nothing had changed. Because of their negligence and carelessness, we will now have to spend a whole 24 hours in the airport basically doing nothing other than sleeping on the floor."

However, it appears this is a world-wide problem as a number of local blogs from Europe to The Carribean to Asia are complaining about last minute changes in the charter flight timetables. Some federations are considering pulling out of the olympiad altogether whilst others have had to incur extra expense in order to sychronise their initial flights with the charter flight changes. It maybe that CK had no other option but to travel on the original date selected. Interestingly, one of Africa's most experienced olympians and Kenya Board 4 player John Mukabi states:

"Strangely enough only African teams are affected!"

The FIDE Charter Flight fiasco is largely considered a symptom of the mismanagement at the top by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The majority of African delegates are expected to vote in favour of the incumbent.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Africa: Too Much Voting Power In FIDE?

BY Daaim Shabaz

In the upcoming election for FIDE President, there has been a lot of talk about the voting structure of one-nation, one vote. This idea is in line with the democratic ideals of general bodies, but seems to have met the ire of chess pundits and commentators. READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE CHESS DRUM

Top 10

Here is a list of the top ten visiting nations to this blog in the last one month.

United States (US)533
Kenya (KE)334
United Kingdom (GB)329
Canada (CA)71
India (IN)52
Germany (DE)49
Nigeria (NG)42
South Africa (ZA)42
Sweden (SE)35
France (FR)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Samuel Changole Chebii 1972-2010

Sammy centre a great chess enthusiast passed away on Sunday september 10 2010. RIP pal.

Magana Wins Crossroads Rapid

By Collins Young

Ben Magana and Akello Atwoli.

Kenyan Chess players were not left behind by the wave sweeping thecountry as we usher in a new dawn. Most of Kenya’s finestchessplayers gathered at Crossroads Inn in Nairobi’s Enterprise roadfor a rapid version of the noble game. The highly charged contestsgraced by the participation of the national team to the Chess Olympiad(read olympics) starting next week in Russia, saw former nationalchampion Ben Magana steal the show coming tops with 6.5 points out ofa possible seven.

Apparently Magana is semi retired and confessed tonot having practised the last few months; a fact that should worryother players. Following in joint second with 5.5points were SteveOuma and Moses Andiwo having travelled from Nakuru for the one dayevent. On joint forth with 5 points were veterans Martin Oyamo, JohnMukabi and fast rising youngster Mike Rua who had the honour ofscalping the reigning national champion Peter Gilruth in the finalround. The ladies crown was won by Rose Wabuti with Rehema Mariataking the runner –up position.

The tournament although having only 31 contestents was evidently oneof the strongest rapid play tourneys in recent times judging from thestrength of the field – at least 10 olympians former and currentincluding two members of the Kenyan ladies team to the RussianOlympiad. The tourney also saw a number of new faces an encouragingsign for a sport that is creaking from administrative neglect and lackof corporate sponsorship.

The event was the second in series organised by Checkmates ChessCluband private sponsors – mainly players who couldn’t stay for too longwithout chess action and have vowed to make this a monthly event.Other upcoming events on the local scene include a three-day long playevent to be held at the Mombasa Beach Hotel from Oct.9th – 11th, theongoing national league and the national championships provisionallyslated for the Jamhuri weekend in December.

For those not well acquainted with the game, in rapid chess eachplayer has 25 minutes on his clock to finish the game. That meansevery game lasts a maximum 50 minutes. What the time limits mean is ifyou run out of your time before your opponent you lose the game evenif you have more pieces on the board than your opponent.

Thisdiscourages players from thinking ‘forever ‘ . A longer version allowseach player up to two hours to make forty moves. It is the mode thatwill be used at the biennial olympiad where Kenyan teams (6 men & 4women) will compete for honours amongst 160 other national teams in a14 round tourney to run from Sept.19th- Oct 4th.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FIDE Rated Tournament In Kenya

The annual MOMBASA OPEN CHESS TOUNAMENT will be held on 9th 10th and11th October at Mombasa Beach Hotel. This will be the first time thata chess tournament is organized on a 5 star beach hotel in Kenya. Thetournament will be organized in two groups:

Group A: FIDE rated tournament with limited chances. All FIDE ratedplayers who pay will get a chance automatically whereas unratedplayers who pay first will be given a higher priority.Time controls: 2hrs

Group B: Open to all with unlimited chances.A guaranteed 1st prize of Ksh 30,000/= will be awarded in the FIDErated section.Attractive prizes will be announced later for the runner up and secondrunner up as well as for group B.The registration fee is Ksh 1000/=.