James Madol Panchol stamped his authority on the Kenyan chess scene with an emphatic victory in the inaugural Village Market Open Chess Tournament last weekend. He obtained a perfect score of 6/6 points to go home with KES 30,000 (USD 270).
Mehul Gohil, the current Kenya National Champion, grabbed second place with 5.5 points out of six rounds. His cash winnings amounted to KES 20,000 (USD 180).
WCM Joyce Ndirangu Nyaruai, the silver medalist from the World Amateur Chess Championship, won the Ladies section with 5 points out of six rounds.
Triza Mwenda and Gloria Jumba were also joint winners with 5 points but ended up in 2nd and 3rd place respectively on tie-breaks. All the three players with 5 points equally shared the top three cash prizes of KES 45,000 (USD 400).
The Ladies section had a total of 28 players taking part. Notable ladies included 13-year-old Lakshita Dutt who is based in Kenya but registered under Malawi and 10-year-old Elizabeth Cassidy Maina, who recently won a silver medal at the 2021 African Youth Chess Championship in Accra, Ghana. Lakshita ended up with 3.5 points, while Elizabeth ended with 3 points.
Terrian Chess Academy and The Village Market were the event organisers, which had a record of just over 390 players taking part. The event had seven sections and included the Open, Ladies, U18, U14, U12, U10 and U8.
The Open section was the most competitive, with a total of just over 120 participants.
The cash sponsors for the event included Rogers Adai, Francis Ngea, Edwin Kinyanjui and Chess Kenya, which came to an impressive KES 170,000 (USD 1,600). RwandAir chipped in with support in terms of merchandise, becoming the first airline to support chess in Kenya in almost a decade. Other sponsors included CABI, Village Market, Trademark Hotel, and Furet Films.
James Madol Panchol is a South Sudanese national who is a resident of Kenya. He changed his federation from Kenya to South Sudan in 2018.
James Panchol is the only South Sudanese national to have won a major chess tournament in Uganda. He was the winner of the 2020 Zabasajja Memorial Open Chess Tournament.
The 26-year-old Panchol is currently pursuing a BBA degree from Kenya Methodist University.
James Panchol has won several chess tournaments in Kenya. In 2019 he won the 3rd Jamhuri Cup, the 61st Nairobi Chess Club Championship, the Garage Blitz Championship and the Galleria Mall BYOB.
In 2018 James Madol Panchol won the 3rd Le Pelley Cup and the 8th Capablanca Cup, which Nairobi Chess Club organised.
His younger brother Manyok Chaderek Panchol won the 4th South Sudanese National Chess Championship held in 2021.
All photo credits to Alan Rongoey.
Village Market Open on chess-results.
James Madol Panchol wins the Ultimate Terrian Rapid Chess Tournament.