Kenyan National Chess League to Resume Virtually

Kenyan chess clubs have agreed to resume their rivalry online in June.

The clubs' captains and Chess Kenya officials arrived at the decision on Sunday, terming it a "huge relief", since both the Kenya National Premier Chess League (KNPCL) and Kenya National Super Chess League (KNSCL) have been on a halt since March 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The game (chess) has taken a thorough beating because the leagues have been on hold for a very long time. It is a huge relief to see that the games will be resuming soon," said Anthony Kionga, the Secretary KNPCL and KNSCL.

He added that the exact date when the games will start, will be communicated in due course.

There will be only one online league open to all clubs, including those that were competing in the KNSCL when sporting activities in the country were suspended in March 2020.

Already, the transfer window for players is open and will run until one week to the kick-off of the league.

Interested corporate clubs will registeri for the competition with Sh75,000 each, while university teams part with Sh40, 000. Private clubs are paying Sh10,000.

Giants KCB Chess Club, Black Knights and Light House are some of the teams that have already registered for the competition, which will last three months, with the winning team pocketing Sh200, 000 cash prize.

The league matches will be played after every two weeks.

Being the first time ever that the league will be happening virtually, Kionga reckoned that they expect a number of challenges to occur, but promised to deal with them effectively.

For power and internet issues, it was agreed in the meeting that teams should have a backup in case of any eventuality.

Players will be required to be on Zoom during the matches that will last one hour each round, while those who will be caught cheating will be banned, and their respective teams forfeiting the match.

"It will be a difficult and interesting one because some players' performance over the board might experience challenges like mouse slips, internet and power issues, which might see them lose alot of time. But we will have a solution to every problem," said Kionga.

A tournament to jog the players minds and bring to fore other challenges that are likely to occur will be held two weeks before the league starts.

Meanwhile, Kenya dominated the third edition of the East Africa Youth Chess Championships held over the weekend.

Uganda and Botswana are the other countries that took part in the competition where Kenya scooped all the top places in the 10 categories, save for the Under-10 boy's section.

Prayan Gupta and Mihika Shah won in the Under-eight boys and girls' section on two and three points respectively.

Ugandan Kennedy Javuru starred in the Under-10 boys' with six points, while Kenyan Chanel Mckenzie topped in the girls' section with four points.

Both Teddy Mutugi and Dhara Shah amassed five points to top in Under-12 boys and girls' events respectively, while Dhruv Shah and Sana Kayyar also garnered five points each to star in the Under-14 boys and girls' category respectively.

Dheerav Shah and Eric Macharia won in the Under-16 and Under-18 boys 'categories with four and five points respectively. The next edition will be held in July.

votieno@ke.nationmedia.com

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