BY MEHUL GOHIL
Zimbabwe crushed us 3.5 - 0.5 yesterday. Githinji blew a completely
won game. It would have been a masterpiece but he cracked. Kudos to
his opponent for maintaining composure and turning the tables. Gateri
did his best against Gwaze but in the end IM trickery and technique
won the day. Magnum played a quasi speculative sac against his
opponent...he had a draw with accurate play but he fumbled and the
opponent took his extra piece to the bank.
In my game, a KID bayonet attack occured. I must thank one Mzee
Kanegeni for the training at Kasarani as one of the lines we looked at
came about and I also did some extra homework afterwards. For some 20
moves my opponents and I followed theory in a variation where black
sacs a pawn and cedes temporary initiative in return for the bishop
pair and especially the all important dark square one. My opponent
whilst unrated I found to be stronger than Rd 1 Angolan opponent. He
set many tactical traps for me and it took some willpower to keep
seeing them. I must admit that I could not call the shots in this game
until we hit endgame. My opponent kinda overpressed and I ended up
with some positional advantage when most of the pieces disappeared. I
think I played a pretty tough and resilient defense. Then I relaxed
after the main storm was over and immediately played a move I thought
was strong but when my opponent countered powerfully I realised I was
in shit. He got an extra pawn in a rook endgame but I managed to find
an accurate defense and held on for my second draw of the event.
On the ladies side, Isabella bagged half a point...the first points
for the ladies.
Tommorow we are playing Namibia and I understand it is a team roughly
at Kenyan strength levels. We clearly need to win this match. We are
resting Martin Gateri and Akello Atwoli joins us again.
I am reading most of you are very concerned by the heavy losses we are
suffering and are expecting better. I will bluntly point out that the
opposition is simply much stronger than us and we are one of the
weakest teams here. Plus we are not converting the promising positions
we are getting...speaking for myself I should have won Rd 1 game. The
level of resistance we are facing is much stronger than anything
available back home. In Kenya a 'strong' player plays strong moves
over a phase of 5-10 moves and then switiches to auto pilot. Here one
is forced to keep coming up with competent moves all the time...on
every goddamn move. For me it's an original expeirence and it is
taxing. Clearly team kenya needs to maintain vigilance throughout
otherwise just one sloppy move is getting punished thoroughly.
That said, I think all players are playing to the best of their
ability. Simply more care is needed. Perhaps magnum is the guy who
needs to play better than yesterday as that was not his best.
You guys can complain (it's your right, you are footing the bills),
but we are doing the max we can. Speaking for myself, I am pushing
myself to perform but the opponents are not weak. They don't blunder,
they don't make obvious mistakes and one has to resort to gradually
outplaying them and this is an area I am still getting used to. Maybe
today I will win. Have been checking my opponents games last night (he
has about 60 or so games on the database) and he's an OK player so
I'll have to be precise. Have been digesting what I have been doing
wrong in the last two games and hopefully I am stronger today. Though
I think I am becoming stronger as the games progress.
neat city unlike Nairobi which is more chaotic in comparison. People
are in general friendly. I have developed over the last three weeks a
taste for jogging...every morning I do a couple of kilometeres. One
Gloria Gweyani (or Gwen) in our ladies team is one fit person and can
knock out 4-6 kms with ease. We use the more or less empty road which
leads towards the border with SA/Swaziland. Swimming is also on the
agenda and everyday I do a few laps. The games begin at 3pm so the
mornings I spend preparing for my opponent.