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KCB’s Nguku and Krishi seal titles in Machakos tournament

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Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) players Ben Nguku and Krishi Shah won men and women’s titles in the inaugural Lighthouse Machakos Open Chess Tournament held at the weekend at Machakos School.

The two KCB players were in impressive form outwitting a huge field that included players from Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia as well as the hosts. 

In total, 138 players took part in the two-day event, 49 in the Open Section, 30 in the Ladies Section and 59 in the Junior Section.

Nguku, with a FIDE rating of 2031, sealed a clear win after amassing 5.5 points after six grueling rounds of competition.  In the ensuing rounds, the tournament came live with upsets on different boards.

Notable ones were the Round two encounters between Miskin Mohamed Abdi (1870) who beat the top seeded player of the Open Section Panchol James Madol (2047).

Unrated junior player Thon Ngony stunned Milton Mwangi rated 1721 in the same round also.

“The field was rich and I had to be at my best. What worked for me was my ability to put my opponents in positions were they have no option but to forfeit,” Nguku, a former national champion, said.

Amongst the ladies, Awinja Judith (1344) upset top seed WCM Joyce Nyaruai (1692) in round two. Junior player WFM Krishi Shah (1579) proved too tough for the senior ladies as she swept her opponents off the board and only drew one game in the final round to finish with 5.5/6 to be crowned champion.

In the Junior Section, Candidate Master (CM) Lwanga Aguda showcased his mastery of the game as he obliterated the field of 59 juniors to finish with a perfect score of six out of six.

The closing ceremony was graced by University Education and Research Principal Secretary Prof Japheth Micheni Ntiba, Machakos Director of Sports Stephen Kilonzi and Chess Kenya Chairman Bernard Wanjala.