As we enter into the second month of the year, expect to experience a lot of chess events across the country like never before. This is buoyed by the fact that the national federation, Chess Kenya (CK) alongside other organisers and development partners are gearing up for a season full of activities.
African Chess Confederation (ACC) President Lewis Ncube arrived in the country on Saturday and was engaged in a flurry of meetings with CK officials and paid a courtesy call to the Commissioner of Sports Gordon Oluoch at his office, before leaving the country on Tuesday evening.
His main purpose was to assess Kenya’s ability and readiness to host the inaugural Zone 4.2 Teams Championship, slated for the April 8-17, 2015 in Nairobi. The ball has now been set rolling and this event is surely going to take place here, barring any other unforeseen occurrence.
The ACC President also offered Kenya the opportunity to host the 2016 Zone 4.2 Individual Championship, which was readily accepted by the CK chairman as it will coincide with CK’s 40th anniversary celebrations. The procedural and routine confirmation of this nomination shall be made by the ACC Board meeting on the sidelines of the 86th FIDE Congress in Abu Dhabi early September 2015.
And the national league that resumes this weekend in Mombasa is expected to come to a close on the February 28, giving way to other tournaments. Players who are not participating in the league shall be gearing up for competitive action after a break since the last tournament last year, and the battle-hardened and match-fit league participants shall be out prove that they have really been out on training!
A fortnight ago, the CK chairman Githinji Hinga, attended the launch of the Kenya Academy of Sports and made a presentation on the ‘Chess in Schools’ initiative, to be run in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, the Kenya Academy of Sports, and the County Sports Ministries at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.
The launch was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario and attended by the Secretary of Sports, the CEO of the Kenya Academy of Sports, the CEO of the National Talent Academy, and various County Sports ministers.
The CK supremo used the opportunity to explain how the 5000 chess boards and sets donated by the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa will be distributed around the country. Before distributing them, the federation intends to ensure that each county creates capacity and the necessary structures for efficiency and accountability. CK also intends to create a database driven website to capture the names of the schools and individuals prior to distributing the boards around, targeted for March or April 2015.
It is envisaged that corporate sponsors and other interested chess enthusiasts shall render the much needed financial and logistical support in taking this game to the children in schools, thus creating a pool of players from which emerging talent can be tapped into and nurtured. And this should not stop there, because for chess to grow a great infusion of capital to support the national body is direly needed if administrative and operational efficiency is to be realized.