2011 Kenya National Chess Championship now postponed to 2012 - Duh?

2011 Kenya National Chess Championship now postponed to 2012 - Duh?

Remember my post on 16th November 2011 when I pointed out that our 2011 National Championship was to held on 10th - 12th December 2011.

Well guess what - on 29th November 2011 this is what I received;

The Olympiad Committee deliberated and agreed to postphone the National Chess Championship/ 1st Phase Olympiad elimination tournament. This was upon looking into requests to postphone. However, in future let us look at the chess kenya calendar of events (which is often circulated at the beginning of every year) and note that events will not be postphone upon request. A player who plans to miss a Chess Kenya event will have to forego the chess tournament/ event.
The dates for the 1st phase Olympiad 2012 elimination tournament will be communicated in good time.
kind regards,
Mary Kanyua,
Chess Kenya committee member.

The first that caught my attention was the spelling mistake but that is fine it happens to all of us at the best of time and can be forgiven.  However what is not forgiven is not spelling Kenya with  capital letter!!

I also found the email very confusing.  Why would the National Federation want to postpone an event upon request. Request from who and why?  The last sentence is absolute mind blocker -"A player who plans to miss a Chess Kenya event will have to forego the chess tournament/ event."  ???

Well it is over I guess.  My question is - Is it possible to have the 2011 National Championship in 2012?

I have done some digging and found out the following about past events

1993 Kenya National Championship - YMCA hall 21,22,28,29 Aug 1993. Winner Humphrey Andolo and Rodgers Adai with 8 points out of 9 rounds. Total number of players 114.  This was the 3rd edition

1994 Kenya National Championship - YMCA 30th April 1,2 May 1994 winner Lothar Nikolaiczuk with 6.5 points, Joint second Jim Burnett, Mike Waliuba, Pathgaonkar, Humphrey Andolo joint second with 6 points out of 7.

1995 Kenya National Championship - Nairobi Gymkhana Winner Andolo and John  Mukabi with6 points. 72 players

1996 Kenya National Championship - Taifa Hall, 19 to 21 Oct 1996, winner PN Odhiambo and Mike  Waliuba with 7 points. Total 85 players. Junior winner Fred Okach and total 15 players

1997 Kenya National Championship - Winner Humphrey Andolo with 7 points 102 players

1998 Championship - winner Humphrey Andolo with 6.5points. Martin Oyamo, Ken Omolo joint second with 6. Event held at Braeburn School.

1999 Kenya National Championship - winner Humphrey Andolo, Nathan Ateka, Philip Singe  with 6 points. A total of 43 players took part.  Event held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre. 

Humphrey Andolo was one of Kenya's best players and he now resides in the UK.  I will write about him later

Lothar Nikolaiczuk (another old friend) returned to Germany within 6 months of winning the Championship.  I will write something about him later as well.  Lothar has written some books on chess but all are in German.

I will also cover PN Odhiambo as well.

20th November 2011 - A speed chess contest.

I was in charge of a 40 player speed chess contest over the weekend.  Why do I spend my Sunday doing these kind of things?? Why my friends and family ask me.  I really have no answer.  I guess I just love making things happens for chess players.  Only wish my skills at the board were so good.

In this photo Ben Magana (left) seems surprised that Kevin Riungu played h6.  The  first clock is the  "Thiel", next one UMF Ruhla (which could be East German), next is the Russian Jantar clock, and the next one is the Ruhla clock)
This event was sponsored by an old buddy of mine - Mehul Gohil and it was the second leg of our Grand Prix series.  I tried something new. I put all the old clocks on display - East Germany ones, West Germany, Russian, Yugoslavia, Britain (yes even Britain used to make chess clocks - Sutton Goldfield with the big flag) and put them on the top boards.  After the first round we went back to the Digital Age.

Forget the players for the moment! - Clocks are UMF Ruhla, Jankar, Ruhla, Insa & Sutton Goldfield. Players are  on right Mehul Gohil with red cap, next to him is Ed Oluoch.

Here is a brief report of the proceedings;

20th November 2011
Speed Chess Tournament Report

A total of 40 players registered for this event with many top names, Ben Magana, Mehul Gohil, Matthew Kanegeni all chasing elusive Grand Prix Points. The event was proudly sponsored by Mehul Gohil & Aslam Adam of UK. 3 Kenyan universities took part – Kenyatta University, Strathmore University and Day Star university.

Round 2 was a disaster for Mehul Gohil when he lost to Bryan Toboso and Ben Magana held on to a draw against Kevin Riungu in round 1.

In this photo Mehul Gohil tries to save his game against Bryan Toboso.

Jacktone Mony (left) from Kenyatta University takes on Peter Kinyanjui from Strathmore University.

Chess also attracts beautiful ladies - Cindy Jery of Daystar University makes her move.
Final standing

Ben Magana 5.5 points and wins KShs 10,000
Chahindi Mbiu 5.0 points and wins KShs 2,100
Matthew Kangeni 5.0 points and wins KShs 2,100
Ben Nguku 5 points and wins KShs 2,100
Sanjana Deshpande 2.5 points and wins KShs 5,000
Kenyatta University 20 points and win Universities prize
2011 Kenya National Chess Championship

2011 Kenya National Chess Championship

I was over joyed when I received an email with the heading.


I thought finally this even is here.  I know you wonder what is so great about the National Championship in Kenya. It is a big deal as this event was last held in 2007 or perhaps 2008?  The Kenya Champion is Peter Gilruth.

My joy turned to disappointment when I realised that this is what the email said.

"The 2011 National Chess Championship is scheduled to take place on December 10th - 12th 2011. The venue (to be based in Nairobi) and other details on the tournament will be communicated soon.

Note that the National championships will also be used as the first phase elimination tournament for the upcoming 2012 Olympiad.

An Olympiad committee is in the process of being established. For more information on the tournament, contact the tournament coordinators Mary Kanyua and Fred Orawo on             +254723341866       and             +254722735097       respectively.

kind regards,
Mary Kanyua,
Committee Member, Chess Kenya."

We have no further details apart from the fact that the event is being organised by the charming Mary and Fred who is the Treasurer and who once arranged for a chess player to get locked up in a police cell.  Well that story is for another time my friends!.  We may be a weak chess nation but I can tell you the passion that Kenyans have for the game is amazing.

 The event is literally one month away and it is clear that the planning has been left too late.  If you remember in my earlier blog Mombasa Chess Club had an event where the prize fund was not mentioned in any email/poster.  Will Chess Kenya do the same.

I guess all we can do is wait for further details.

How does a chess fanatic spend his week

Well it is a busy week for a chess fanatic.................I tried to order for two chess clocks from the USA.  Of course it is not so easy even if you have a credit card.  It is simple - they do not ship items to Kenya.  What a pain.  About two weeks ago I did try from the UK.  It was the same as their website did not have Kenya on their website so you could not choose the destination.  Well not one to give up - I called them and they told me check two hours later.  Guess what - the problem was fixed.  So I placed an order for a DGT clock and a BHB one.  The website was www.chessdirect.co.uk.  Awesome guys...........

The only problem I have is that it is now 21 days and I have not received the clocks.... I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope to get them soon. Please please please.

 So back to the USA.  I asked my niece to order for me and bring them for me.  I asked for 2 BHB clocks with the transparent body.  I think these clocks are cool as you can see whether you need to wind them or not.

Why do I need all these clocks you may ask.  I run chess events in Kenya and hence need the equipment.  After browsing various sites I found that a Jerger clock with the wooden stand (see my earlier post) is available at USD +200!!

I also found out that you can get great clocks for about Euro 40 which are wooden and look really cool. So why not get a nice looking clock while you are at it.  Website is https://www.schachversand.de

I have decided that I will order at least one of these cool looking machines.  Perhaps the order will be for two of them. Who knows.

We have a chess event this Sunday incase you want to take part. It will be at the Goan Gymkhana in Nairobi so feel free to come over. But register first as we have limited spaces available.

My fascination with chess clocks - Part 1

This weekend was a busy one. I had a speed chess event to run at the club.

My biggest worry was to get enough chess clocks to run the event which would have about 40 players. This meant that I had to get one of my favorite chess clocks repaired. This was an old Jerger Clock made in West Germany a real Mercedes Benz of chess clocks that I have loved from the first time I saw it.

The first time I saw it was probably in the 1980s when I saw Saif Kanani playing at one of the events. He is the only Kenyan to have won a medal at the Olympiad when he got a Silver medal in the 1980 edition in Malta.

This clock was a rehabilitated one. You can see the swinger on one face is red the other one is black.  One clock was not working and I was lucky. I managed to find a clock repairer. Yes these people still exist in Nairobi. You will find them working in certain spots of the city.  They have a small little glass box which have their tools.

The chap who fixed my clock was Peter Barazza.  His price was KShs 800 or USD 8.  After bargaining we agreed on KShs 600.  Guess what the clock worked like a breeze at today's event.

I am now a happy man!

My question is - Why does DGT still insist on making all its digital clocks in plastic?  There are some crazy players like us who love the feel of wood and I would be delighted to play chess with my wooden DGT digital clock and "DGT" done in gold lettering....................

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