What you need to know:
- With a Fide elo rating of 2661, Arzebaijani GM Guseinov Gadir is so far the highest ranked player who has entered for the Open.
- His compatriot GM Safarli Eltaj (2608), Latvian GM Meshkovs Nikita (2586), Russian GM Ponkratov Pavel (2580) and Paraguayan GM Delgado Ramirez (2560) follow in that order.
Stiff competition is expected in the 2023 Kenya Open Chess Championship set for April 6 to 10 at Sarit Expo Centre in Nairobi, following the entry of several top, foreign players.
One hundred and thirty one players had by Tuesday morning entered for the Open.
They include eight Grand masters (GM), three Women Grand masters (WGM), five International Masters (IM), one International Woman Grand master (IWM) and five Fide Masters (FM).
Chess Kenya (CK) president Bernard Wanjala said the strong field in the Open is due to the Sh 5,513,600 ($42000) prize purse.
“Most of the players have been attracted by the cash prizes,” said Wanjala. “As things stand, it will be the most competitive chess competition ever held here (Kenya).”
The number of the participants is expected to increase since the registration is still open until April 2.
They will compete in the Open, Ladies, Veterans (50+), Persons With Disability (PWD) Open and Ladies Sections.
All the top 10 finishers in both Open and Ladies sections will receive cash prizes, same to the top three players in the Veterans, PWD Open, and PWD Ladies Sections.
The Open Section winner will pocket Sh1 million, while the first and second runners up will receive Sh750,000, and Sh500,000 respectively.
In the Ladies Section, the top player will pocket Sh500,000, while those who emerge second and third will receive Sh350,000 and Sh200,000 respectively.
The top players in the Veterans, PWD Open and PWD Ladies categories will receive Sh 50,000, 100,000 and 50,000 respectively.
Wanjala revealed that CK is paying for the registration fee and accommodation of GMs and WGMs, while IMs and IWM will have their registration fees also catered for by the federation.
Through this, the Equity Chess Club captain said they hope to attract more top players for the competition as a way to improve the level of the game locally.
“Most of the Kenyan players cannot afford traveling outside the country to face the GMs and IMs. Having them here is good since it will give the local players the much needed exposure thus improving their game,” said Wanjala.
With a Fide elo rating of 2661, Azerbaijani GM Guseinov Gadir is so far the highest ranked player who has entered for the Open.
His compatriot GM Safarli Eltaj (2608), Latvian GM Meshkovs Nikita (2586), Russian GM Ponkratov Pavel (2580) and Paraguayan GM Delgado Ramirez (2560) follow in that order.
At position 21, Kenneth Omollo (2089) is so far Kenya’s top ranked player who has registered for the tournament. Kenya's top seed Robert Mcligeyo said he will register for the Open.