Equity Bank retain national league title

By Gilbert Wandera: Monday, November 19th 2018 at 23:27 GMT +3 | Sports
Peter Gilruth of Equity Bank in action against Joseph Methu of KCB during the final rounds of chess league matches at Rooster's Inn

Equity Bank defeated Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB Group) 3-2 to retain the Kenya national Premier Chess League title on the final day at Roasters Inn, Nairobi.

It was billed as the game of the season and it did not disappoint. The tension and drama on the boards was too much for the players to bear as hundreds of fans gleefully followed the proceedings on the giant screen.

Both teams lined-up their best players with KCB’s attack led by FM Harold Wanyama (2307), CM Ben Magana (2153), Joseph Methu(2028), Mehul Gohil (2015) and Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Goretti Angolikin (1701).

However, KCB’s  exclusion of tactical Ugandan FIDE Master (FM) Haruna Nsubuga (2153) was the main talking point. 

Equity, had International Master (IM) Arthur Ssegwanyi (2331), FM Patrick Kawuma (2358), Peter Gilruth (2138), Moses Andiwoh (1861) and Daphne Mwikali (1462).

On board one, Ssegwanyi and Wanyama sized each other up before agreeing to a draw after 35 moves which was followed by demolition of national champion Ben Magana by Patrick Kawuma in 33 moves on board two to give Equity a 1.5-0.5 lead.

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Olympiad Daphne Mwikali then obliterated Goretti Angolikin on board five. KCB recovered on board four where Mehul Gohil sent Moses Andiwo packing.

After that result, all eyes were glued on the title-decider between veteran Peter Gilruth of Equity Bank and the promising Joseph Methu.

But the game ended in a draw after 79 moves throwing the Equity Bank camp into wild celebrations as they successfully defended their title.

KCB, who were at the top of the log going into the last round, finished third after Deadly Bishops sneaked in to finish runner-up.

Deadly Bishops were lifted by an improbable win against Black Knights in a match they were expected to pick at best, a draw.

Bank of Africa won the best corporate title in their debut.