Mehul Gohil won the Kenyan Chess Champion and thus, drove away the grand prize of a Mazda Demio car! It is his second car in three years. In 2019, he won the title after Ben Nguku was unable to catch him. This year he had to win an Armageddon battle against Hugh Misiko to get the title. The players had split both rapid and blitz games before the decisive result. According to Chess Kenya, this is Gohil’s third championship title winning also in 2014.
Mehul Gohil celebrating his new car!
“This was very tough, basically it was like a penalty kick, and I am happy to have won. To become the best in chess takes years of practice and love for the game, so winning the car is a validation of the hard work”
Final standings (Open)
|1||Okonga Hugh Misiko||1785||8|
|3||Namale Ben Nguku||1972||7½|
|5||Kanegeni Matthew Kamau||1944||7|
|7||Methu Joseph Muragu||1945||7|
|8||Ndegwa Jackson Kamau||1809||7|
|10||Brian Gabriel Mwangi||1760||6½|
The event attracted more than 200 players in two sections. Joyce Nyaruai won the women’s title after nipping out Glenda Madelta by a half-point. Nyaruai had to come from behind by beating Madelta in the 8th round and Lucy Wanjiru in the final round. Madelta took 2nd winning her last round followed by the defending champion Sasha Mongeli.
“The competition was extremely tough. If you remember, I had a rough start by registering two draws in my first two matches. In my mind at that time, my campaign was over but the other players also stumbled and I was able to pick up.”
Final standings (Women)
|1||Ndirangu Joyce Nyaruai||1699||8|
|8||Elizabeth Cassidy Maina||1209||6|
Photos by Chess Kenya
In the annals of chess history, national champions have been celebrated and their notoriety is remembered for decades. One only has to remember Andrew Kayonde’s pronouncement at the 2018 Chess Olympiad after fighting to a bitter draw with the world-class Grandmaster, Vassily Ivanchuk. “This guy’s technique must be better than mine, but I am the Zambian champion.”
It may be true that champions are remembered, but often are not rewarded. That is not the case in Kenya. Gohil plans even further gains by converting his new car into a transport vehicle. Will he go for his third this year? If he wins again, he may be able to consider his own fleet and compete with a Kenyan version of Uber.
Won my 3rd national chess championship title after a dramatic playoff. Back in 2014 when I won it for the first time, I got 20,000/-. Things have changed since then. Top prize these days for the nationals is a whole car. And I have picked up two now. And I ain't done! pic.twitter.com/mnXgQ9Fe4W— Mehul Gorilla (@mehulgorilla) January 1, 2023