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SPORTS

Gosrani optimistic ahead of World Youth and Cadets Chess Championship

SPORTS By Washington Onyango | December 9th 2020

Naiya Gosrani is confident of finishing in the medal bracket when she represents Kenya at the 2020 World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championships.

Gosrani, 15, became the only Kenyan who qualified for the online world championships, after finishing third out of 15 contestants in the Under-16 category of the Africa qualifiers that ended on November 30.

While Kenya had fielded a girl and a boy from the Under-10 to Under-16 categories, only Gosrani who plays for Nairobi Chess Club qualified.

Rated 1331 in the world, she overcame the stiff challenge from her opponents to advance to the next level.

“I played very well during the qualifiers where I learnt a few tricks ahead of the global stage. I have played numerous online chess championships and I believe I am at a better position to win a medal for Kenya,” she said.

Out of the seven rounds of matches of the qualifiers, Gorsani won five and lost two to emerge third in the Under-16 category with five points.

Woman Fide Master (WFM) Makhlouf Ahlam from Morocco emerged top with six points, followed by Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Gabatshwarwe Refilwe from Botswana who had 5.5 points.

Africa joins America among the two continents that have completed their qualifiers, with Europe and Asia yet to complete their qualifiers.

The online global competition will kick off from December 19 to 23.

Antony Kionga, who captained the Kenyan team in the competition, tipped Gorsani to perform well at the global round of the competition.

“I am positive she is going to perform better at the finals given that the time control will be better than the one used at the selection stage,” he said.

Gosrani started playing chess when she was 10 years after being inspired by her younger brother Reeyan Gosrani.

Naiya Gorsani of Nairobi Chess Club in action during a past match. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

She won the National Chess Champion in her category; Under 12 Girls in 2017 and Under 14 Girls in 2019.

She has represented Kenya in numerous international championships including African Schools Chess Championship in 2015 and 2016 in Zambia, African Youth Chess Championship in 2017 in Zimbabwe among others.

In 2018, when Kenya hosted the African Youth Chess Championship in Kisumu, she won bronze for the country after coming in third in the U14 category.

She has also participated in the senior Kenya National Chess Championship (Ladies) both in 2018 and 2019 and has been the best under 20 Junior for two years in a row.

In 2018 at the age of 12, she took part in the Mombasa Open Chess Championship and played in the under 16 categories. She came in 2nd winning silver.

She currently plays for Nairobi Chess Club and helped the club win 2nd Best Private Club in 2019.

She also represented the country in the first FIDE Online Olympiad held in August 2020.

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