Defending champions Equity Bank and KCB got off to winning starts as the 2018 Kenya National Chess League got underway over the weekend at KCB sports Club, Ruaraka.
Equity crushed Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) 5-0 as former winners KCB also recorded the same score line against debutantes Kings Club from Kiambu.
The two heavyweights handed debuts to their new signings with Equity fielding the experienced Peter Gilruth, who joined from Nairobi Chess Club on board one, while KCB also started with former national champion Mehul Gohil, also snapped from NCC, playing on board four.
“It was important to get off to a winning start and hopefully we can build on that result in the coming rounds,” KCB team manager Isaac Babu said.
Others who did duty for the bankers in the other four boards are Jackson Kamau playing board one, Joseph Methu on board two, Ben Nguku was playing board three and Gloria Gweyani on board five which is exclusively reserved for women.
Interbank champions Central Bank marked their return to the league with a resounding 4-1 win over Bank of Africa.
In other results, Strathmore University were no match for newcomers’ Trojan Warriors losing 5-0 with Deadly Bishops claiming a 3-2 win over University of Nairobi.
Eastlands Chess Club cruised to a 4-1 win over Black Knights as TUK saw off fellow university compatriots Kenyatta University 5-0. After the results, the weekend winners are all on three points with Equity, KCB and TUK joint top courtesy of their superior winning margins.
Sixteen teams out of the 21 were in action in the opening round of the league that will run till November and will be battling for the cash prize of 200,000 for the winner at the end of season.
The season will end in December 2018 with the Kenya National Championship.