Anchor Chess Club wins to maintain lead on defending champs Equity Bank

By Washington Onyango: Monday, March 25th 2019 at 12:19 GMT +3 | Sports
Christie Karan and Weldon Ngetich both of Daystar University (left) in action during the Kenya Premier Chess League matches played at Kenyatta University on March 24, 2019. (Washington Onyango/Standard)

Anchor Chess Club won three games and lost to KCB Bank but remained at the helm of the chess premier league.

James Nyaga inspired Anchor Chess Club to three vital wins in the 2019 Kenya Premier Chess League to maintain its three-point advantage over second-place Equity Bank, which won all its matches over the weekend at Kenyatta University.

Nyaga played a vital role in the leaders two games against Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) and Kenyatta University, winning all his board one games against Brian Chege of JKUAT and Dennis Maina of Kenyatta University.

Anchor defeated Lighthouse, JKUAT and Kenyatta University 4-1 but ended up losing to 2016 champions KCB Bank 4.5-0.5.

Team captain Solomon Thuo told the Standard Sports they are focused on stopping Equity when they face the champions next weekend.

“We have had a perfect start to the league and we are aiming to maintain our lead. The loss to KCB Bank was a reality check that we are not yet there and we need to work harder in our next fixtures,” he said.

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Equity Bank, on the other hand, continued their title defence by making it six wins in a row winning their games against JKUAT, NACHA Kings and Eastlands.

The defending champions dropped one and a half points in their first match against the university students but rallied to win 3.5-1.5 before thrashing NACHA Kings 5-0.

The bankers then maintained their hundred percent win record in the league by thrashing Eastlands 4-1.

Equity captain John Mukabi was happy with the win and said their main objective is to retain the league for the third year in a row.

“We are in a good form and our new signings Matthew Kanegeni and Esther Awinja just shows how serious we are with the league this season. We had a good weekend and we are looking forward towards claiming our top spot,” he said.

Equity are second in the standings tied with Nairobi Chess Academy, both with 18 points but with two and one game in hand respectively.

KCB Bank are fifth, also with 18 points after six matches but with an inferior tie break compared to Equity and Nairobi Chess Academy.

It was a weekend full of surprises as chess veterans fell at the behest of young and upcoming juniors who have less than two years’ experience.

Collins Young of Bank of Africa was the first casualty of the day when he was checkmated by 10-year-old Dan Willies Gachai of Lighthouse Chess Club.

KCB Bank’s Jackson Kamau and winner of the 2018 Nairobi International Open Chess Championship, also fell at the hands of 14-year-old Alvin Mbithi of Nairobi Chess Academy & Club Junior Team (NACHA Kings).

League Secretary Anthony Kionga lauded the youngsters' efforts and said there is a bright future for the youth.