Last updated 1 year ago | By Gilbert Wandera
The road to various international events for Kenyan youth start today in Nyeri where the final of the National Youth Chess Championships will be held.
The three-day event will be held at Bishop Ngandu Girls and Ruthagi Boys schools. It is here, that the 1,600 participants will fight it out for a chance to represent the country in various international events.
There will be 12 categories to be competed for during the three days. This includes under-8, under-10, under-12, under-16 and under-18 for both boys and girls.
The winners in all the various categories will be declared national champions and will carry the country’s flag during the African Youth Championships to be held in Namibia in December.
Kinoti Timothy Strathmore is among those expected to make an impact in the boys' under-16 category and will try and dislodge last year’s winner Timothy Mwabu from Alliance High School.
Kinoti was one of the best performers during the Nairobi regional finals held at Peponi School three weeks ago.
In the lower category, Ciaca Tracy from Light House Academy in Embu is one of the favourites to clinch the girls' under-8 category. Tracey won the regional finals in Mount Kenya after bagging six points.
Former national under-14 girls champion Vivian Muthoni is also expected to do well as she moves to the higher category. The girls' under-16 category will be well fought with former national under-12 champion Gilliane Otieno from Gems Cambridge also taking part.
Gosrani Naiya is the favourite to win the under-14 category. Naiya from Hillcrest School has been in blistering form this year after beating national champion Jumba Gloria and former national champion Joyce Nyaruai in the All Africa games qualifier.
National under-14 boys champion Jeff Gichuki has also graduated to the under-16 category where he will be fighting to make an impact.
In the schools category, Alliance High who emerged the best in the secondary school category last year will be fighting it out with St.Joseph from Kitale and St.Patrick’s Iten.
Alliance Girls and hosts Bishop Gatimu Ngandu will fight it out in the girls' category.
St. Peter Juja, Makini School, Logos Christian School and Rose of Sharon Academy will all fight it out to clinch the title of best primary school.
Chess Kenya chairman Bernard Wanjala has expressed his gratitude to the two schools for agreeing to host the three-day event.
“We have continued to grow the sport every year and this time we have seen the number of participants go up by more than 500 which is very encouraging and is proof of the support we have received from the regions,” he said.