Photos by Esther Ocholla and Paras Gudka

Sana Kayyar, a plucky twelve-year-old from Nyali, made history on Saturday, 4th September by winning Mombasa’s first OTB (over-the-board) chess tournament since February 2020 with 6 points from 6 rounds at the Close the Gap Pilot Chess Tournament.

Sana Kayyar receiving her prize from Close the Gap Cafe manager Sharon
Sana Kayyar (right) receiving her prize from Close the Gap Cafe manager Sharon

Sana, a Year 8 student at Oshwal Academy Mombasa, began learning chess after the pandemic began and has been trained by ex-national champion CM Ben Magana for the past 6 months.

Following her in second place was younger brother Shoubhith Kayyar who finished the tournament with 4 points.

Second prize winner Shoubhith Kayyar receiving his silver medal
Shoubhith Kayyar (right) receiving his silver medal from Close the Gap Cafe server Winnie

Genevieve Maashao, also with 4 points but a worse tie-break score, came in third.

Third prize winner Genevieve Maashao receiving the bronze medal
Genevieve Maashao (right) receiving her bronze medal from Close the Gap Cafe chef Zuhura

All three prize winners received medals and cash as follows:

  1. Sana Kayyar – Gold medal + KES 1,250/-
  2. Shoubhith Kayyar – Silver medal + KES 1,000/-
  3. Genevieve Maashao – Bronze medal + KES 750/-

The final standings after 6 rounds were as follows:

Final standings after round 6 of the Close the Gap Pilot Chess Tournament
More tournament data at Chess-results.com

Held at Close the Gap Cafe in Ratna Square, Nyali, the 6-round rapid tournament attracted 9 players, of which 7 were juniors representing either Mombasa Chess Academy or Lighthouse Chess Club.

More photos from the event can be viewed in the slideshow below:

  • Round 1 games in progress at Close the Gap Pilot Chess Tournament

Veteran Mombasa-based chess coach Paul Ombui gave a short speech at the closing ceremony as captured in the video below:

Paul giving a short speech

Following the success of this pilot event, the organising team of Paras Gudka (this author), Jacinta Nduta, Sharon Odero, and Esther Ocholla are working on details for the next chess tournament at Close the Gap Kenya. The same will be available via the Chess Events Calendar page on this website.

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