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Wanyama fully aware of the Kenya Open title defense challenge

by Nnalubaale Sports
1 minutes read

Fide Master (FM) Harold Wanyama has admitted that defending the Op won’t be a walk in the park.

Wanyama’s dominance of the Championship

Wanyama, who won the title last year is going to require a great deal of effort as the 2023 edition has lined up some of the very best from the World.

The Open will commence on April 5 at the Sarit Expo Center in Nairobi with over 100 players taking part in it.

But, the biggies of the event will be the eight Grand Masters (GM) who’ve confirmed participation, with GM Guseinov Gadir from Azerbaijan the top-seeded with a 2661 rating.

Ugandan players tend to flood Kenyan events and actually boss them! Wanyama alone has three Kenyan Open Championship titles to his name.

The Elephant in the room

However, with the GMs, his imminent opponents in this edition, the rated 2303 star sees a tough task of defending the Championship.

“This is a rare opportunity to play in an event with more than 2 GMs in Africa. You can only improve by playing top opposition! You cannot improve when you are always the top player in an event so for me, this is also a learning experience.”

15 players including the seed one in East Africa International Master (IM) Arthur Ssegwanyi, IM Elijah Emojong, FM Patrick Kawuma, and Wanyama will carry the Ugandan flag.

They will come up against GMs from the USA, Latvia, Russia, Paraguay, and India and GM Fawzy Adam and Hesham Abdelrahman both from Egypt.

Zambia, one of the top chess countries on the continent will also be represented by its finest, IM Andrew Kayonde leads a team that includes IM Gilian Bwalya, IM Phiri Richmond, and FM Prince Daniel Mulenga.

Kenya, as the hosts, have entered a large number of players, but their highest-ranked player is Hilary Sagwa who is rated 1796, and who is ranked 38th at the event.

The Kenyan Chess Federation has let loose the dollars in this competition as far as the prize money is concerned.

A total of $42000 has been put aside as the reward money of which $8000 will go to the winner.

That’s about $2000 more than the monies put at the African Individual Championship, a FIDE-bankrolled tournament.

Courtesy Photos

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