Text and Photos: Paras Gudka
On the warm Saturday afternoon of 21st January 2012, a veritable mass of chess enthusiasts, organisers, players, their parents and curious onlookers gathered at the pool area of Goan Gymkhana on Ngara Road, Nairobi to witness the inauguration of the 2012 edition of the Nairobi Chess League.
Of the 16 teams that eventually registered, only half of them had sent their captains or representatives for the mini blitz tournament that would determine seeding. Teams represented at the blitz event included: Triton Kids, Triton Stars, Nairobi Chess Club, Sicilian Simbas, WeCC Thoroughbreds, Mighty Pawns and others.
For the better part of the afternoon, chaos and confusion reigned with teams wanting to register at the last minute, upsetting the 11-team limit that had been set in pre-inauguration communication from hosts Nairobi Chess Club. Tournament director and Chairman of the club, Kim Bhari, found himself in a fix, unable to decide whether to split the teams into 2 divisions of 8 each or to limit the number of rounds via a Swiss system tournament. He would have to confer with club secretary Mehul Gohil and revert to team captains and representatives.
The blitz event itself was the highlight of the afternoon’s proceedings with Mehul Gohil of Sicilian Simbas and Vasanth Ramesh of WeCC Thoroughbreds tying for first place with 6 points each at the end of 7 rounds. A tie-breaker of 2 matches ensued and Mehul was declared the eventual winner. Final standings of the blitz tournament will be used to determine seeding for the 16 teams.
By the time of filing this report, Nairobi Chess Club had announced that the time controls had been changed from 45 minutes to 60 minutes per player and that the league would be played over 8 rounds on the Swiss system. The hosts also requested teams to bring their own clocks and pens as these will not be provided.
Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2012 Nairobi Chess League will begin at 2 pm and 4.10 pm respectively at the Goan Gymkhana. A short briefing of team captains and managers will be held at 1.50 pm before the start of Round 1.