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Kenya fails to advance in online Chess Olympiad

Sunday August 02 2020
shah_pix

Woman Fide Master (WFM) Krishi Shah in action at Clarion Hotel in Nairobi on July 31, 2020 during day one of Division Four matches of the ongoing Online Chess Olympiad. PHOTO | POOL

By VICTOR OTIENO

Kenya were on Sunday eliminated from the ongoing online Chess Olympiad after finishing sixth on eight points in Division Four.  

Only the top three teams in the division – Hong Kong, Thailand and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) that garnered 18, 15 and 14 points respectively, progressed to the competition’s Division Three.

The global competition will come to an end on August 30. 

While Kenya had a bright start of the competition on Friday, managing two wins and a draw, Saturday and Sunday turned tragic for them, as they recorded just one victory in the six rounds.

Ahead of Sunday’s rounds, captain Ben Magana had urged the team to beat Taipei to stand a chance of progressing to the next level.

But the Southeast-Asian nation players were in ominous form handing the home players a 5-1 thrashing. KCB Chess Club’s Martin Njoroge is the only Kenyan player who trounced his opponent in that seventh round. 

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Things were not any better in the eighth round against Hong Kong, as coach Peter Long’s side lost 4.5 -1.5. The sole win and a draw came from KCB’s Jackson Kamau and Nairobi Chess Club’s Naiya Gorsani respectively. 

With the two losses, Kenya entered the ninth and final round against Myanmar with no hope of advancing to the next round.

Myanmar outwitted them 4-2, top seed Joseph Methu and Woman Fide Master Krishi Shah being Kenya’s winners in that round.

Magana said that he was impressed by the junior players’ performance. 

Shah, who is Kenya’s top junior female player, starred for coach Long’s side, with four wins and a draw in the six rounds. 

“We have noticed some weaknesses which we will be working on towards next year as part of our preparation for the Olympiad to be held in Russia. The coach (Long) has been following the team’s performance and he has a lot to share with the team,” said Magana.

The 44th World Chess Olympiad will take place in Moscow, Russia from August 5 to 18 next year.

With Division Four rounds of the online Olympiad now over, focus shifts to Division Three, which will take place from August 7 to 9. 

Apart from Hong Kong, Thailand and Chinese Taipei, Division Three will be composed of 35 teams that are ranked higher than those in Division Four in the Gaprindashvili Cup. 

SUNDAY RESULTS

Chinese Taipei 5 Kenya 1

Hong Kong 4.5 Kenya 1.5

Myanmar 4 Kenya 2

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