Kenyan players shine at African chess tournament

Kenya's Maxrore wambua in action at the World Youth Chess Championships in in Durban, South Africa. [PHOTO:GILBERT WANDERA/STANDARD]

Kenya’s 17-year-old Robert “McLigeyo” Oluka rated 1786 took an early lead after he upset top seed FIDE Master (FM) Abubaker Tagelsir of Sudan rated 2231 in the toughest section of the Africa Chess Championships at the Mombasa Continental Resort.

Oluka won his first game against Uganda’s Emmanuel Egesa and went ahead to dismiss the top ranked Sudanese in the combined 13-player Under-2,300 open category.

The Kenyan boy, who is fresh from the African Junior Chess Championship in Algeria where he finished fifth overall in the open section, is looking for personal rights to play in the 2023 World Amateur Chess Championships in Greece.  

The event has attracted 93 players from 15 federations, the highest attendance in the event since its inception in 2015 in Matola, Mozambique. Kenya has fielded the largest contingent of 34 players in the event that ends on Saturday.

In the combined 12-player section of women Under 2000 and 2300, reigning Kenya national champion woman FIDE Master (WFM) Sasha Mongeli maintained the lead with maximum points in a category where Kenya is highly tipped to scoop big fielding of seven players. Sasha stopped Uganda’s Milly Takali and Zambia’s Naomi Mwale in rounds one and two respectively.

In Under 2000 open section, eighth seeded Faruk Karim Kizza of Uganda took the lead with maximum points in the 22-player section that includes second seed Kenya’s reigning men champion Martin Njoroge. [Ernest Ndunda]

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