Kenya face Turkey in chess Olympiad for People Living with Disability

Sadam Ali, the reigning Kenya National Chess Champion for People Living with Disability.

Sadam Ali, the reigning Kenya National Chess Champion for People Living with Disability, ponders his next move in a past chess competition.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • All the 30 opening matches in the global contest will kick-off at 5pm East African Time, with each team fielding three men and a woman or vice versa in a match.
  • Turkey is among the few countries that the International Chess Federation has allowed to field more than one team in the Olympiad.

Kenya's chess team will on Saturday kick-off their online Olympiad campaign for People Living with Disability against Turkey.

All the 30 opening matches in the global contest will kick-off at 5pm East African Time, with each team fielding three men and a woman or vice versa in a match.

Turkey is among the few countries that the International Chess Federation has allowed to field more than one team in the Olympiad.

For Kenya’s four representatives in the competition - Sadam Ali, Geoffrey Mosongoh and Robert Ndirangu (physically disabled) and Ivini Boke who is deaf, they expect a tough match against Turkey, as all their players are rated above 1400.

With chess for the disabled being introduced in Kenya in 2018, only Mosongoh is rated at 1199. But despite being underdogs, the Kenyan team captained by Anthony Kionga is putting a brave face.

“They (Turkey) are a formidable force but we are well prepared for a challenge. In chess, the side that makes the first mistake has a high chance of losing, so we will be playing safe not to make any errors and capitalise on the opponent’s mistake,” said Kionga.

Ali, who is the reigning Kenya National Chess Champion for People Living with Disability, is optimistic of recording a good performance, since he has competed in many online tournaments, including international ones.

“I have been playing random players and tournaments and I have won several. I will have the experience tomorrow (Saturday). They (Turkey) are unpredictable but we will take each game very seriously and prepare for the next,” said Ali, who was Kenya’s only representative at the Online Chess Cup for People Living with Disability held in May.

He emerged 26th in the competition that had 36 participants.

With the first round of the Olympiad being played in a seven round Swiss system, the teams will know their next opponents based on their performance in the previous round.

Teams with equal points will face-off and after the seventh round on November 27, the top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals, to be staged in double-round format from November 29 to 30.  

Rwanda got a bye to the second round after missing an opponent to face-off with in the opening fixture. The two best teams from the semi-finals stage will advance to the finals to be held on December 3, while the other two will compete for the third place prize.  

votieno@ke.nationmedia.com

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