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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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.

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