KCB chess club's Ricky Sang in action during a past Kenya National League Championship tournament at Ruaraka Sports Club. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

The much-awaited Kenya National Chess League will kick off on Saturday at the prestigious KCB Sports Club.

The league, which comprises two divisions, namely the Premier League and the Super League, promises an intense competition as defending champions, KCB Chess Club, aim to extend their dominance after securing the title consecutively in 2019, 2021 (online league), and 2022.

The Premier League will witness new challenges this season as newly promoted sides, Kisumu Chess Club, Lighthouse Alpha, and Knights Chess Academy, aspire to establish their authority in the tournament.

These ambitious clubs are eager to make an impact and dethrone the reigning champions. Additionally, the return of the 2018 Champions, Equity Chess Club, adds an extra layer of excitement, having missed out on last year's edition.

Speaking about the upcoming season, the League Secretary, International Arbiter (IA) Anthony Kionga, expressed his anticipation for an exhilarating competition.

"This year's Kenya National Chess League is expected to be incredibly tough and competitive. The level of talent across the teams is exceptionally high, and we foresee some fierce battles on the chessboard.

“The league has seen a bustling transfer market, with teams actively recruiting players from Egypt, Uganda, France, and South Sudan, further elevating the overall quality of the league," said Kionga.

KCB will kick off their title defense against NACHA Kings before playing Anchor Chess Club on Saturday.

Other matches will see Kisumu Chess Clu8b face Lighthouse Alpha, Equity play Naiorbi Chess Club and Daystar University play Westlands.

Larry Kagambi of Nairobi Gymkhana (left) in action against Lennox Mangi of Technical University of Kenya in a Kenya Chess Premier League match. [Washington Onyango,Standard]

In the Super League, several new entrants are poised to make their mark.

Teams such as USIU and Mavens Tacticians will be aiming for top finishes in order to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Meanwhile, the relegated teams, Strathmore University and the University of Nairobi, are determined to bounce back and reclaim their positions in the top tier.

Both the Premier League and the Super League consist of 17 teams each.

At the end of the season, the bottom three teams in the Premier League will face relegation, while the top three teams in the Super League will earn well-deserved promotion, providing an intense battle for survival and advancement.

Chess enthusiasts from all over the country are eagerly awaiting the commencement of the league, ready to witness the battles unfold between the formidable defending champions and the ambitious challengers.

With an influx of talent from various countries and the return of former champions, the 2023 Kenya National Chess League promises to be a season filled with excitement, strategic brilliance, and intense competition.

KNCL Fixtures


Round One

Kisumu Chess Club v Lighthouse Alpha

Equity Chess Club v Nairobi Chess Club

Westlands Chess Club v Daystar University

Elite Chess Academy & Club v Black Knights

KCB Chess Club v NACHA Kings

Nairobi Chess Academy & Club v Victoria Chess Club

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology v Kenyatta University

Nakuru Chess Club v Anchor Chess Club

Knights Chess Academy v Bye

Round Two

Nakuru Chess Club v Nairobi Chess Academy & Club

Anchor Chess Club v KCB Chess Club

Kenyatta University v Elite Chess Academy & Club

Victoria Chess Club v Westlands Chess Club

NACHA Kings v Equity Chess Club

Black Knights v Kisumu Chess Club

Daystar University v Knights Chess Academy

Nairobi Chess Club v Lighthouse Alpha

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology v Bye

By Xinhua 6 hrs ago
Relegation in the spotlight on dramatic final day in Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo's first season in Saudi Arabia ends without title
Mwendwa: AFCON to cost Kenya close to Sh4.1 billion
Tusker hoping to leave Gor tipsy in potential title decider