Kenyan Chess Players Struggling in Olympiad Tourney

24 November 2020

The going for Kenya's chess team at the inaugural online Olympiad for People Living with Disability is proving tough.

Three out of the seven rounds have been played and Kenya, captained by Anthony Kionga, have failed to register a single victory.

In their first two rounds on Saturday and Sunday, Kenya lost 4-0 and 3-1 respectively to Turkey's A and B sides.

Turkey is among the few countries that the International Chess Federation (Fide) allowed to field more that one team.

Geoffrey Maoga is Kenya's only player who has trounced his opponent in the competition that enters its fourth round on Tuesday.

He beat Erten Ozlem, who ran out of time in their 3-1 loss to Turkey's team B.

In their third round match on Monday, Kenya lost 4-0 to Malaysia's team B, leaving the East African nation ranked at position 57 out of 60.

With the team facing Libya, who are ranked at position 58 in the fourth round on Tuesday from 5pm, Kionga is optimistic of a win.

"I am very proud of the team. Given that this is their first international event, the team has shown a lot of improvement in the last three games and lot of growth in confidence. One year ago the players had no idea what a checkmate was, but today as we speak they are fighting it off with their international competitors to the last second on the clock," said Kionga.

He added: "We are also learning on the areas of the game that we need to improve on, and the team has already started working on that. We are looking to secure our first win against our fellow African compatriots, Libya. Both teams are evenly matched and we are confident of posting positive results against them."

Currently, Poland's team A, who have won all their matches, tops the standing thanks to a superior tie breaker. Russia team A sits second, while Germany and Ukraine's team A are ranked third and fourth respectively.

All the seven rounds of the first stage will come to an end on November 27, with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals. The top two teams will thereafter face-off in finals on December 3.

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