Kenyan ace, Ben Magana
I have found a story on the Kenyan team and their strategy to field their boards in reverse order… from weakest to strongest. This is sometimes called “stacking” your boards. The idea is that the lower boards will be sure points and anything the top board can get will be a bonus. This strategy only works if the team members are relatively close in strength. Otherwise, the top boards will be sure points for the opposing team and it would negate any advantage of board stacking. Read it for yourself.
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Chess team to field strong players on lower boards
By Samson Ateka
The national chess team technical bench hopes to improve its medal prospects by fielding stronger players on lower boards.
Chess is usually played in four boards with the top seed fielded on board one. Olympian and coach John Mukabi said they intend to field their players in a descending order because “our top players will face weak opposition at lower boards.”
Reigning champion Ben Magana could be fielded on the lowest board with Ben Ngungu on the third last board.
Mukabi said Steve Ouma and Akello Atwoli might be taken on to the top boards. The chess team has brought to camp at Kasarani two computers for sparring matches with Fritz nine programmes, which coach Mukabi said is able to play various intricate lines against a human being.
“Our top players will face weak opposition
at lower boards.”
~ John Mukabi, Coach of Kenyan team ~
“The management Committee has hired two computers that players are using to test their might on the chess board and it has really done a lot of good to the players. The programme looks at up to 20 different and strong moves and this will help improve the players’ flair in the long run,” Mukabi said. Mukabi said the advantage of the programme is that you can tune it to the level of a player or higher above the standards if one so wishes.
Mukabi said they would decide on the order of the boards tomorrow. Mukabi has tipped Egypt as the possible champions.
“They have International Masters and grandmasters in their team and their standards should be way above the continental level. But we will fight to be in the medal brackets by virtue of having played at various Fide World Chess Olympiads,” Mukabi said.
Posted in The Standard, 5 July 2007