Battle for the World Cup spots heats up

By Ernest Ndunda: Thursday, May 9th 2019 at 00:05 GMT +3 | Sports
Weldon Ngetich (right) and Christie Karan both of Daystar University in action during the Kenya Premier Chess League match played at Kenyatta University on March 24, 2019. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

The Zone 4.2 African Individual Chess Championship continued yesterday with players battling to secure World Cup tickets with round five and six at Shaza Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

Egyptian grand master Ahmed Adly leads the field with 4.5 points out of a possible 5. His countryman Grand Master Abdelrahman Hesham is joint first but with a lower tie break after their head to head encounter ended in a draw. Uganda’s duo of IM Arthur Ssegwanyi and FM Haruna Nsubuga lie third and fourth respectively on four points apiece.

Kenya’s fourth-ranked player Mehul Gohil is sixth after his victory in the fifth round against Egyptian GM Essam El Gindy, who moments later, withdrew from the event after getting sick. The result atoned for Mehul’s devastating loss to GM Adly in round two.

Another impressive result for East Africa over the North African Pharaohs came earlier in round four when FM Nsubuga outclassed GM El Gindy. CM Vasant Ramesh, another Kenyan representative, sat pretty on three points and in sixth place after five rounds.

In the ladies section, Uganda’s WFM Ivy Amoko shrugged off her round one loss to her compatriot Shakira Ampaire to ascend to the top of the standings with four points after notching four straight wins. Kenya’s WCM Joyce Nyaruai stands a point behind her but in sixth place and banks on any slip up from the leading pack to bounce back into contention.

She needs to be in good physical and mental shape if she harbours ambitions of mounting a formidable challenge, especially after her long fought win over WFM Sasha Mongeli of Kenya in round five. National champion Gloria Jumba enjoys an eventful outing having won two and lost two games with one draw to place seventh with 2.5 points.

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Round six will see perennial rivals WFM Amoko and WFM Angolikin face off on board one as WCM Joyce takes on the second seed WFM Sohaya Abdelmenaem of Egypt on board two. In the Open section, IM Ssegwanyi will play GM Hesham as GM Adly encounters Sudan’s FM Abdalla Abdelazeez on board two.