NCBA Bank Kenya are the 2023 Kenya Corporate Chess Championship champions.
NCBA won their maiden national chess title after edging out former champions Equity Bank.
This is major signal of changing landscape in chess sport that has been mainly dominated by KCB and Equity.
NCBA has been lately investing in Chess sports beefing up their squad and attending high level tournaments which seems to pay off.
Last year,the team performed well in interbank chess Championship. They later participated in prestigious 2022 Africa Amateurs Chess Championship held in Mombasa as the team gained experience.
“Our management takes sports very seriously. We really thank them for their support. Our target was to win and we are glad we did," said NCBA captain Mourice Obila.
NCBA won four matches and only drew with the pre-tournament favorite Equity in a thrilling match.
A narrow win against highly spirited Daystar University of 2.5-1.5 was enough to guarantee the podium finish.
Zadock Nyakundi and Flavien Adong delivered victory against Daystar's Barreth Odhiambo and Harriet Jessy respectively. A win by Daystar's Job Akama against Dennis Muigo(NCBA) changed nothing as a draw between Lucy Kimani(NCBA) and Haden Nyamiaka (Daystar) was enough for NCBA to win the match.
Equity bank fortunes changed after painful loss to USIU that displaced them to third place and USIU finishing second in final rankings.
Equity's captain Njagi Kabugu lost to Chitundu Limbikani(USIU)Easter Judith (Equity)lost Clifford Ombiro(USIU), Steven Waweru (Equity) drew with Tandy Milare and Victor Ongono delivered the only win to bankers against Baden Fred(USIU).
Chess Kenya President Benard Wanjala congratulated the new champion NCBA and indicated they will now take huge responsibility to fly national flag in international events.
"After missing deadline on World Rapid in Germany which was 12th June, the winner will now participate in World Amateurs in Muscat, Oman from 1st -11th November. We hope the management of NCBA will support the team which has proven themselves"
The tournament was the second edition of the Kenya National Corporate Chess.
The tournament had attracted 7 corporate teams. Among the teams include defending champion Equity Bank, NCBA, NCBA Loop,Prudential Insurance,Nairobi City county, Daystar university and USIU.