Financial Engineering for Chess Players

Nairobi Chess Club hosted  it's 53rd Club Championship last weekend 27th & 28th August 2011.  In order to ensure that the event ran smoothly all players were required to register by 25th August 2011 and for which I was impressed almost 26 had done so by then.  The rest registered on 26th August.

I know many of you will be wondering how do players register so easily in Kenya. Well in Kenya we have "MPesa" which is a way to send money to others using your phone. Yeah - I know we in Kenya are light years ahead of the rest of the world in these matters!

On the night of 26th just as I was preparing the draw, I got a phone call from an old chess buddy who requested to be included in the draw. I told him it was simple and that all he had to do was to send money and he said that he would arrange tomorrow but just to include his name.  I thought that since Santa Claus does not live at the Equator I would wait for the money first.  The next morning I called him and told him this was his last chance to register and he said the funds were being sent but as expected there was nothing.......
View of the playing venue

I put up the draw on just before the start of the event and he walked in and asked me why his name was not included and I told him well............I want to see the colour of money first...........He said he was going to arrange it.  He then approached a fellow chess player who gave him the entry fee of about USD 10 and he came to me again.  I told him that I would have to include him as an odd player who would have a bye in the first round.  I then proceeded to tell him that why early registration is vital etc and he told me that he understood and that he would not enter the event!!

Now that is called Financial Engineering. You have USD 10 in your pocket which you did not have when you arrived for the event.  The prize fund is USD 200 (top prize as about USD 90) and there are 20 players fighting for it and your chances are kinda good but....  What do you do. Take the USD 10 and run or do you risk the USD 10 on the entry fee to fight for the first prize of USD 90?.

The event was great and the list of winners was as follows;
Veteran Francis Ngesa (left) takes on Nikolai van Beek

Final Standings:
  1. Ben Magana – 4.5 points (out of 5)
  2. Bryan Taboso – 4 points
  3. Githinji Hinga – 4 points
  4. Mehul Gohil – 4 points
  5. George Nderitu – 3.5 points
  6. Hesbon Omanjo – 3 points
  7. Ricky Sang – 3 points
  8. Collins Young – 2.5 points
  9. Joseph Atwoli – 2.5 points
  10. Martin Oyamo – 2 point
Ben Magana (left) receives his trophy & cash prize from Mr Ramesh .T

For the Challengers it was as follows;

Final Standings:
  1. Vasanth Ramesh – 4.5 points (out of 5)
  2. Magesh Kumar – 4 points
  3. Peter Kinyanjui – 3.5 points
  4. Keith Kithome – 3.5 points
  5. Njuru Mwangi – 3.5 points
  6. Kevin Riungu – 3 points
  7. Tom Amwai – 3 points
  8. Jeneby Mohammed – 3 points
  9. Gweyani Jumba – 3 points
  10. T. Ramesh – 2.5 points. 

2011 All Africa Games, Chess Qualifiers & My Free Coffee

I ventured out last Sunday 14th August 2011 to see some chess action.  The "chess stadium" was Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Naivasha Hall.  This was where some 40 male chess players and 20 ladies were battling to make the team. Only 4 men and 4 ladies were going to be part of the team.  It was a brutal first leg where a Swiss format was used to select the top 10 who were now going to play a round robin.......................

Need I mention the traffic along Thika Road - yes on a Sunday afternoon, horrible and story for another day.

The venue was breathtaking......................Check out my google earth photo of the site.  This stadium was build for the 1987 All Africa Games which were held in Nairobi (stories for another day) and it was funded by the Chinese Govt.  My immediate reaction was "2012 Africa Junior Chess Championship" must be held here.

After parking my car and looking for the venue and rushing in with my Canon camera in tow...........I came across the coffee/tea table laid out with cups/saucers/ and cakes.  I was cordially invited to partake some refreshments which I gladly did so after my long torturous journey.  So here I was enjoying a free cup of coffee from the Govt.

Githinji Hinga with the Black pieces on his way to victory against Ricky Sang

Mehul Gohil popularly known as "Gorilla" feeling very patrotic and sporting his new "Kenya" cap.

Kenya's number 1 player Peter Gilruth (left) takes on Maputo hopeful Wachira Wachania

It was amazing.............The Chairman of Chess Kenya Andolo Ambasi, the General Secretary Larry Kagambi, and Committee Member Steve Ouma were present together with officials from the Ministry of Sports Mr Ratemo & Ruy Mwendwa Mututo and of course - the chess players and spectators themselves.  Everyone was very cordial and the atmosphere was electric. 

Who could have imagined that this group of "friends" were at each others throats just few months ago?  The last Chess Kenya AGM held on 30th January 2011 was crudely aborted after 6 hours!  We have had lawyers letters sent from officials to certain players, we also have Kenya's first suit filed by a chess official against a player.  What high powered drama!

This Qualifier almost did not happen. It was a last minute plan that was almost sabotaged but here we were..........Players, Bigwigs from Chess Kenya, Officials from the Ministry, Parents, Diehard fans all congregating at the "Temple of Caissa" to seek the Fabulous Four to represent Kenya.

This event must rank amongst the strongest event held in Kenya over the recent past.

The final standing is shown below;

The final standings of the chess qualifiers are as follows:


1.       PETER GILRUTH – 7.5
2.       MEHUL GOHIL – 6.5
3.       MARTIN GATERI – 6.0
4.       JOSEPH ATWOLI – 5.5
5.       BENJAMIN MAGANA – 5.0
6.       GITHINJI HINGA – 4.5
7.       MATTHEW KANEGENI – 3.5
8.       GEORGE MATHEA – 3.5
9.       RICKY SANG’ – 1.5

Peter Gilruth who was placed 11th overall on Saturday joined the last ten following the withdrawal of Martin Oyamo.


2.       ISABELLE ASIEMA – 6.0
3.       REHEMA MARIA – 6.0
4.       GWEYANI JUMBA – 5.5
5.       PURITY GACHIGI – 5.5
6.       ROSEMARY WABUTI – 4.0
7.       ELIZABETH MINAYO – 4.0
8.       SHEFALI KACHRA – 3.5
9.       WINROSE NYOTA – 2.0
1.   LEAH WANGARI – 1.0

For the ladies, position no. 4 was decided on an accelerated time “blitz” in which Gweyani Jumba defeated Purity Gachigi 2-1. Rehema Maria who was placed 11th overall on Saturday joined the last ten following the withdrawal of Saloni Karania. 

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