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Chess: Magana, Nyaruai plot national titles defence

SPORTS By Gilbert Wandera | December 11th 2018 | 2 min read
National women chess champion Joyce Nyaruai in past action. [Courtesy]

A new national champion could be named on Sunday at the end of the national chess championships that begins tomorrow at Parklands Sports Club.

With an impressive prize fund of Sh400,000, this is enough motivation for the over 200 players taking part in the event to edge out defending champions Benjamin Magana from KCB and Joyce Nyaruai of Technical University.

The duo currently enjoys top form and sits pretty at the summit of their respective national ranking published at the end of November by world body, FIDE. 

Magana will be seeking to win his fourth national title having lifted it in 2006, 2013 and last year.

The Kisumu-based champion is a perfect specialist of ray Lopez and Marshall counter gambit openings, a strong weapon he employs and which has kept him at the helm in the rankings.

Former national champion Mehul Gohil, who was dethrowned by Benjamin Magana, is among top players who will be seeking to snatch the trophy from Magana.

“I am going for nothing short of victory. Let others make their own calculations but my focus is winning the title back,” said Mehul 

In the ladies’ section, Nyaruai will find it difficult to defend her title given the strong field expected to line up.

Nyaruai recently won the Kisii Open tournament in preparation for her title defence.

Her main rival will be WFM Sasha Mongeli, the recent winner of StarTimes sports personality of the month after excelling in world Chess Olympiad 2018 in Batumi, Georgia.

Other registered high profile ladies expected to put up a huge fight include Gloria Jumba, Daphne Mwikali, Lucy Wanjiru and Under-18 national Champion Dorcus Wanjala 

The winner will pocket Sh100,000 as cash prize, an air-ticket to Mombasa Open Courtesy of Kaylan travel agent and dinner for two courtesy of Ole Sereni Hotel. 

The closing ceremony will be on Sunday where league winners will also be awarded.

Equity Bank defended their title in a dramatic final match against their perennial rivals KCB Group last weekend. 

Others who will also be rewarded include Bank of Africa, who emerged as Best Corporate, Stima Club, who were runner-up and Central Bank of Kenya, who were third.

Central Bank returned to the league last year after an absence of more than 10 years. Technical University of Kenya was the best university.

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