Kenya’s second seed Francis Nderitu is the winner of this year's Nairobi leg of the National scrabble tournament circuit.
To dethrone East Africa and Kenya’s first seed Allan Oyende of the title, Gitonga won 13 matches out of the 18 played over the weekend at Standard Chartered Bank in Westlands.
The competition, which was the first leg of the 2020 National Scrabble Tournament Circuit attracted more than 100 players from across the country.
Gitonga who hails from Kirinyaga County had to sweat to bag the title as he faced stiff competition from Michael Gongolo. The two had tied at 13 wins, but Gitonga walked home with the title thanks to a superior winning spread of 1252 points, against Gongolo’s 876.
“I am happy to have won the first national circuit of the season, it motivates me ahead of this competitive season. My target is to perform better this year and to dominate the international events as well,” said a jubilant Gitonga.
The third slot went to David Njenga of Nairobi who registered 12 wins and a draw, while Patrick Litunya from Machakos came fourth with 12 wins and a winning spread of 823 points. Francis Wachira sealed the top five places with 11 wins and a draw.
Despite missing the first leg of the circuit, Oyende exuded confidence that he will still rule this season’s competition. “I missed the tournament because of work but it does not worry me at all because I am the top seed. In the next tournament, I will be back in full force,” said Oyende.
Wenwa Akinyi registered eight wins to be crowned the circuit’s best woman.
In the Intermediate Division, Joel Birgen won 15 matches to be crowned the champion with a round to spare. It was a double victory for Francis Gichu from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology who emerged second in the category, after he was also named the best student in the circuit thanks to his 13 wins.
Michael Ng'ang'a starred in the Open Division, winning all the 16 matches to start the season unbeaten. Melonie Karia and Faith Kabia finished third and fourth after registering 11 and 10 wins respectively.
The highest combined score of 1081 points went to Ayub Zande and Irungu Wamucii.
The second leg of the circuit will be held next month in Kitui.