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Chess players in search of Olympiad tickets

Top Kenyan Chess players are expected to cut into the Kenya Team for postponed World Olympiad Chess Championships to be staged in Russia during this year’s Chess Kenya National championships with the winner driving home a new car.

Fresh from hosting Africa Individual Schools Chess Championships (AISCC) in Nairobi last weekend, Chess Kenya chairman Bernard Wanjala is optimistic that the Open and Ladies championships will be highly competitive with top 24 qualifying into the second phase of World Olympiad set for August in Russia.

The biennial World Olympiad Championships was held virtually last year due to coronavirus, Kenyans lost all their games and the physical event set for next year in the 44th edition that starts on August 5th to 18 next year.

The national championships kick off on 26th December to 30th December where 24 players will make the cut for the second phase and they were postponed due to the AISCC.

“This is an annual event which we normally host on Jamhuri Day for five days but we had to move to December 26th because during the usual time, we were hosting the AISCC. We have been hosting such an event for the last 14 years and it has been successful,” said Wanjala.

He added that as a federation, they are so passionate about nurturing and empowering young talents and that is why they are giving out a vehicle to drive home.

“Ours is not just playing Chess but empowering Kenyans in the sport. The winner will drive home a new car and top ten finishers to walk home with cash prizes. The aim of the championships is not just playing but empowering the lives of our players,” he said.

Commenting on the concluded AISCC, Wanjala said it was commendable after topping the continent.

“This was a good show for Kenyan players who proved they can play well. We never witnessed any challenges and that should replicate at the World Olympiad Championships,” he said.

Last year’s virtual show, Kenya finished 6th with eight points in Division Four behind Hong Kong, Thailand and Chinese Taipei with 18, 15 and 14 points respectively.

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