"Battle for Migingo" Part Three

by ChessBase
5/3/2014 – Migingo is one of the smallest, most densely populated pieces of real estate in the world. This small island has been a source of sabre rattling by both Kenya and Uganda, and the Nairobi Chess Club has chosen to name its matches against Uganda after this volatile battleground. The third edition was once again won by Uganda. Pictorial report by Kim Bhari.

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The "Battle for Migingo" Part Three

By Kim Bhari

It is a small rocky outpost in the middle of Africa’s largest lake. Migingo Island is in the expanse of the Lake Victoria which is surrounded by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Migingo is about half the size of a football pitch: 2,000 sqm. [Image: IngoNews]

It has a population of about 130 fishermen and fish traders [photo: Amusing Planet]

This small island has been a source of sabre rattling by both Kenya and Uganda over the past few years and hence, when the Nairobi Chess Club organised the first match in 2012 against Uganda, the name “Battle of Migingo” was chosen. The first edition was held in Nairobi, Kenya when the Ugandans triumphed 12-4. The second edition was held in Kampala, Uganda on 18th and 19th May 2013, and again the Ugandan won, this time 9-7.

In the 2014 edition Uganda’s National Chess team outwitted Nairobi Chess Club 12-4 after four grueling rounds over the weekend 8th-9th March 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The venue of the event: the Goan Gymkhana Club

Overview of the playing hall

Lunch between the battle

Uganda’s team that comprised of Arthur Ssegwanyi, FM Harold Wanyama, CM Patrick Kawuma and Walter Okas had the better of their Kenyan counterparts whose Nairobi Chess Club team had Kenya’s National Champion Ben Magana, Mehul Gohil, Peter Gilruth and Brian Kidula.

Brian Kidula of the Nairobi Chess Club waiting for his opponent

The first round played on Saturday morning (8th March 2014) ended in a 2-2 draw, in the second round Uganda won 3.5-0.5, then won 3-1 in the third round and the score was 3.5-0.5 in Uganda’s favor in the last round.

Ssegwanyi was the best player on the Ugandan team winning all his four games against Gilruth, Mehul, Magana and Kidula, unrated Okas also did very well winning three and only drawing one against Magana. This puts Okas who already has 8 rated games from the recent Rwabushenyi Memorial Chess Championship on course for his first international rating as the event in Kenya was also a rated tournament.

Patrick Kawuma in action

Patrick Kawuma won three and lost one to Mehul while FM Wanyama had an unusually difficult time that could cost him some valuable rating points after winning one against unrated Kidula, drawing the other with Gilruth and losing two to lower rated players in Magana and Mehul. Credit must be given to Kenya’s Gohil who showed flashes of brilliance in outwitting higher rated opposition in Kawuma (rated 2281) and Wanyama (rated 2217).

The Ugandan team returned to Kampala after successfully defending the title for the third year running. The annual event helps improve on international rating points for players in the region and fosters friendship and cooperation among the two countries.

Peter Gilruth, Vice Chairman of the Nairobi Chess Club, playing with the black pieces.
Peter, who sponsored the event, was a long term supporter of the club Aslam Adam in the UK.

The Nairobi Chess Club is the oldest club in Kenya and most probably the East African region, having been registered on 26th February 1958. It meets every Saturday afternoon at Goan Gymkhana Club, Ngara Road, Nairobi, Kenya from 2pm.

It has over the past few years been actively promoting chess and in 2012 brought GM Dimitri Reinderman of Holland to Kenya.

Sights of Nairobi and Kenya

The 2013 Nairobi Chess Club Championship

Chess tournament organized by the Chess Players of Kenya Association ChessPAK

Chess in City Park, action during a normal club day

Gary Kasparov at the famous Sikh Union Club, Nairobi,
famous for its great hockey players in the 1960/1970s

The famous MacMillian Library, established in 1931, is one of the oldest and largest libraries in Nairobi. Located in the city centre the building is finished in Nairobi blue stone, with a front entrance marked by classic large pillars and stone lion sculptures. The Library, which houses an extensive Africana section, as well as rare first edition books and works of art, serves an average of 1,000 users per day.

Elephants in Masai Mara National Reserve, which is located west of the capital Nairobi

Masai Mara belongs to the Maasai people and is one of the most popular reserves in Africa

Report and photos by Kim Bhari, Chairman of Nairobi Chess Club & Warren Pollock

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