Kenyan chess king Njoroge savours Olympiad experience

Martin Njoroge

Kenya National Chess Champion Martin Njoroge during the interview at Nation Centre on March 22, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Ahead of Monday's matches in the open section, Kenya who are seeded 135 in the category were placed 101.
  • In the women's section, where the national women's team lost 3-1 to Venezuela in round three, Kenya ranked 83rd.
  • The national women's team was Monday scheduled to clash with Palau.

With his childhood dream being to play in the Olympiad, national champion Martin Njoroge is delighted to be among the team representing Kenya at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai City, India.

And being cognisant of how grueling the journey to rubbing shoulders with the world’s greatest chess players can be, Njoroge, 25, vows not to allow the high temperature or sugary and spicy foods in Chennai ruin his experience in the Games.

One hundred and eighty eight countries are taking part in the championship which ends on August 10.

Ahead of the national men’s team tough clash with Jordan on Monday, the deadlock KCB Chess Club man was confident of performing well in the championship.

He had been motivated by his back-to-back victories in round two and three, where Kenya thumped Bhutan 4-0 and lost 2.5 - 1.5 to South Korea. The national men’s team lost 4-0 to Chile in their round one on Friday.

“I totally love being in Chennai, playing in the Olympiad is the dream of every chess player and for me, it is a dream come true,” an excited Njoroge told Nation Sport on phone.

“My best moment so far has been meeting some of the Grand Masters (GM) whom I had read about and watched on YouTube. It has shown me that with commitment, everything is possible in life.”

Sunday’s round three victory was a sweet one for the national chess champion since he upset Candidate Master (CM) Changhoon Kim, stating that his target is to return home with a Fide title and medal.

“Getting a title and a medal will be perfect for me,” said Njoroge, attributing their round one 4-0 loss to Chile to being inexperienced compared to their South American opponents.

In the match, all the Chilean players save one were Fide title holders.

He appreciated the fact that there was beef in Chennai, which has become the main dish for Team Kenya in the Games.

He said they are finding it hard to cope with most foods in the South Indian City since they are too sugary or spicy.

“Here if the food is not too sugary then it is too spicy,” said the KCB man.

Regarding the temperature, he said that while it sometimes rises up to 30 degrees Celsius they are coping well, as most of them have been to Mombasa.

Ahead of Monday's matches in the open section, Kenya who are seeded 135 in the category were placed 101.

In the women's section, where the national women's team lost 3-1 to Venezuela in round three, Kenya ranked 83rd.

The national women's team was Monday scheduled to clash with Palau.

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