Equity Bank reclaim Chess League crown

Monday November 27 2017

Equity Bank players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2017 Kenya National Chess League. PHOTO | COURTESY |

Equity Bank players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2017 Kenya National Chess League. PHOTO | COURTESY |  

By BRIAN YONGA
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Equity Bank are the 2017 Kenya National Chess league winners after emerging undefeated in the round-robin championship that came to a close over the weekend.

The bankers finished on 80 match points, three ahead of arch-rivals KCB, in the 20 team league. It was Equity’s second league title after their exploits in 2013.

Team Equity, who are also this year’s InterBank Chess champions, outwitted an army of veteran teams including favourites KCB and Nairobi Chess Club, Kenya’s oldest club, who finished third.

League debutants, Anchor Chess Club, ended the season in a surprise fourth place, after a stellar season in which they dismantled giants Deadly Bishops and drew with Equity.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology topped the schools and colleges category displacing Kenyatta University which had been at the helm for the past two seasons.

Fide Master (FM) Steve Ouma of Equity Bank emerged as the best player in the league following an unbeaten streak on board one with 6/6 wins.

Brian Maina Karuiki of Anchor Chess Club, Jackson Kamau of KCB and Roberto Villuela of Nairobi Chess Club won board two, three and four respectively.

Sasha Mwongeli of Technical University of Kenya was crowned the best female player, while in the juniors’ category, Aguda Lwanga of Nairobi Chess Academy and club, topped the table.

Chess Kenya Chairman Bernard Wanjala expressed his delight at the league’s outcome.

“This has been an extremely competitive league and the quality of play has greatly improved across the teams.

“In fact, I have noted huge potential in the juniors where we saw some young players beating experienced players. We are looking forward to grow the game and nurture this talent to position Kenya as a chess giant in the continent,” Wanjala said.

Grand Master Pontus Carlsson from Sweden was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony held at the KCB Sports Club, Ruaraka.

The two teams Equity Bank and KCB will proceed to represent the country in the Africa Chess Club Championships next year.

Action now moves to the Kenya National Championship from December 9 to 12 at the Nairobi Safari Club.