Six Kenyans attain Fide titles at Chess Olympiad

Six Team Kenya members at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai City, India attained provisional Fide titles, making it one of Kenya’s best performance in the global championship.

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Kenya was represented by 10 players; five men and as many women in the biennial competition that ended Tuesday.

The male players included; reigning Kenya National Chess Champion Martin Njoroge, Ben Nguku, Githinji Hinga, Robert Mcligeyo and Isaac Mukoko.

Their female counterparts were; Woman Fide Master (WFM) Sasha Mongeli, Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Joyce Nyaruai, World Women’s Amateur Under-1700 champion Madelta Glenda, Jully Mutisya and Cynthia Awino.

Njoroge and Mcligeyo starred for Kenya in the open section after they bagged the provisional Fide Master (FM) and Candidate Master (CM) titles respectively on their Olympiad debut.

Nguku, who was making his second Olympiad appearance, managed conditional CM.

In the women’s section, Nyaruai upgraded her WCM title to a conditional WFM title, while debutants Glenda and Owino all attained provisional WCMs.

In chess, Grandmaster/Woman Grandmaster are the highest Fide titles followed by International Master/Woman International Master, FM/WFM and CM/WCM.

According to Fide rules, a player attains the FM/WFM title if he achieves 65 percent in a minimum nine rounds at the Olympiad while for the CM/WCM, a player must attain 50 percent in a minimum seven games at the biennial competition.

But the titles are only confirmed and awarded if the players reached the Fide elo ratings for their respective titles.

Njoroge, who locally turns out for KCB, must take his elo ratings to the minimum 2100, while his compatriots Mcligeyo and Nguku must reach at least 2000.

In the women’s section, Nyaruai’s WFM title will only be confirmed once she meets the minimum 1900. Glenda, and Owino must reach at least 1800. In the Olympiad, Kenya finished 130th and 73th in the open and women’s section respectively.

Veteran chess player and CM Ben Magana, who was one of the team’s non-playing captain, said though they did not achieve their target of a podium finish in their Group ‘D’, the performance was good.

He said the impressive performance by the Olympiad debutants is a sign that the future of Kenya’s chess is bright.

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