Report by Mehul Gohil
A new boss was crowned. Martin Njoroge is the new sheriff of the country. More on that below.
CM Ben Magana has always been the most difficult opponent for me in Kenya. My score against him is disastrous. Something like 14 losses, only four wins, and four draws in a rivalry stretching from 1996 to the present. So it was with great concern I went into round 8. I had basically burnt the midnight oil expecting a King’s Indian Attack.
At the board, to my relief, he went in for a standard Advanced French. I clearly understood the stuff better and gained the upper hand, and cranked up the pressure. At the critical moment, when I probably had a borderline crushing position, the fatigue of the previous four days got to me. I could hardly calculate and evaluate properly. There were easily two better moves at hand.
Instead, I spotted some clever stuff that forced a draw. I spent some 20 minutes at this point, half of that time debating whether I look to continue the game or take the draw. In the end, I told myself I am too exhausted to continue. I took the draw. But I was happy with the fact after a long long time; I had managed to outplay CM Ben Magana.
So it came down to the wire. I played like a gazelle. I was too fatigued. I Kept playing weak moves. But fatigue is not an excuse. I now understand the hard way that good physical conditioning is essential. Chess is a tough game and hits you physically hard.
The playoffs was a learning lesson, and I need to work on the physical conditioning aspect. On the other hand, Martin looked fresh and energetic and deservedly blew me away in the speed chess and blitz mini-matches. Congrats to him.
Martin plays a sharp and dynamic brand of chess. He sees tactics at quicksilver speed. He also plays a strong positional game. Especially good is his sense of piece coordination when he has the initiative. You can never relax against him. He keeps the pressure on. Also his ability to change openings. That really got me off guard in the playoffs. He represents a new style in Kenyan chess at the top. The shape of things to come with the younger generation that he is going to inspire.
Personally, I exceeded my expectations. Throughout the year, I had been struggling with form. I really thought I would have a poor showing at the Nationals, and in the latter part of November and most of December, I put in a lot of effort in training.
I am glad to say I played well at this National Championships. I may not be the Champion, but I think I played the best chess of anybody in the classical section.
Next month that game-fixing Olympiad National Team Qualifier gets underway. There will be cliques and groups organising with people to throw away games etc., in order to book the flight to Russia for their ‘Chosen Ones’. I know I will be targeted in the schemes. But I have always been the lone ranger, and I roll that way. Bring it on.
The last one minute of the Blitz Game 2 can be seen here with the dramatic footage of a new Champion!
Day 4 report on the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship by Mehul Gohil.
Day 2 Report on the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship by Mehul Gohil.
Zadock Nyakundi holds CM Ben Magana to a draw in round one of the 2021 Kenya National Chess Championship.
Preview of The Kenya Chess Championship 2021.
2021 Kenya National Chess Championship on chess-results.com
Who will win the 2021 Kenya National Championship by Mehul Gohil.
Standings & Results of the 2019 Kenya National
2019 Kenya National Chess Championship Day 4.
PGNs for Open Section rounds 1 to 9.
PGNs for Ladies Section rounds 1 to 9.
2019 Kenya National Chess Championship Day 3.
2019 Kenya National Chess Championship -Rules & Regulations.
Video of Closing Ceremony 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship.
Day 4 – 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship.
Day 3 – 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship.
2018 Kenya National Chess Championship standings and results.
Day 2 – 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship.
Day 1 – 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship.