The 40th edition of the Kenya National Chess Championship will be held from December 12 to 16th at Parklands Sports Club.
The five-day tournament is the climax of Chess Kenya’s activities for the season and is most anticipated in their calendar.
This year’s event has a record Sh400,000 prize money for the winners.
There are a total of 10 prizes in Open section with the winner walking away with Sh100,000. The ladies will play in their own separate category and will also have the same number of winners as in Open section. Other prizes will be awarded to best player rated under 1600 Elo, under 1400 Elo and best juniors under the age of 20 years (a boy and a girl).
Reigning Kenya champion Benjamin Magana is expected to face stiff challenge from his rivals who have been training for the event since June.
His main threat will mostly come from teammate tactician Joseph Methu, Gohil Mehul and Jackson Kamau.
Other contenders in Open section include Githinji Hinga, Dr. Victor Ngani, Steve Ouma and Nathan Ateka.
REAL TEST FOR MWONGELI, WANJIRU
The reigning ladies’ champion Joyce Nyaruai will have her work cut out in defending her title.
Two new kids on the block have been making a name for themselves this season. Sasha Mwongeli from Technical University of Kenya has been on the rise having staged the best performance during World Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia with a 7/8 score on her debut.
She was awarded the coveted Woman FIDE Master title.
The other sensation is Lucy Wanjiru from University of Nairobi, who not only scored well at World Olympiad on her debut, but also is the top lady in the league.
Other top contenders in the ladies category include Gloria Jumba (KCB) and Daphne Mwikali (Equity Bank).
The tournament will also be used to select a five-player team, both men and women, for next year’s All Africa Games in Morocco.