Chrispine Mwendwa (right) in action during the second edition of the Kisumu Junior Plainsview Chess tournament. [Washington Onyango,Standard]

    Over 300 junior chess masters will battle it out in seven categories as the first edition of the Mega City Mall Junior Chess tournament debuts on Saturday in Kisumu.

    Organized by the Chess Kenya Vice President Andrew Owili through the Victoria Chess Club, the festive season chess championship is targeted to keep the school-going children who are on holiday occupied and away from negative society habits.

    Speaking to Standard Sports, Owili said their goal further goes beyond putting the children in check as they work towards promoting chess as a sport within Kisumu County and its environments.

    “December is a festive month where schools are closed except colleges and universities and therefore a majority of under-18 kids have lots of free time. We saw it fir to organised this chess tourney to keep them busy and away from bad habits and evil temptations,” said Owili.

    “Chess is a vital tool for young students, especially in Primary Schools and to have the game played in the majority of the institutions will not only help the learners be intelligent but help them academically.”

    “Our main goal is to increase the level of competition not only in Nyanza but also nationally as we want to take more young upcoming chess players to the numerous Africa chess championships.”

    The Mega City tourney will be played in seven boys and girls categories namely under 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18.

    Furthermore, the top three winners will be awarded a certificate, trophy and shopping vouchers to celebrate Christmas.

    Rishit Ravat from Kisumu Senior Academy, Curtis Ruben from Mudasa Academy, Marvin Ousa from Makini and Floyd Wasonga from Sapphire School are some of the top names to watch ahead of the tournament in the boy’s category.

    National Chess Instructor Isaac Ondeng confirmed over 10 schools from Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya and Migori will grace the games including Msingi, Agah Khan, Mudasa, Makini, Zoar Academy and many more.

    Shukri Shakira, Sonia Victorious and Breetaliza Amanda are some of the top junior female players to watch at the one-day event.