Fide Master Harold Wanyama put an end to his glittering career on Tuesday when he announced his retirement from competitive Chess.
Tagged the ‘King of Blitz’ for his unmatched displays in the category, Wanyama called time on his playing career to end an imposing era.
It didn’t take long for the tributes to the man who will forever be remembered as an icon in the game to start pouring in.
“Harold HW-17 Wanyama retires from club and country. I support you 100%, we’ve been teammates 7 plus years now, a good run, besides the ladies team needs a coach,” said FM Patrick Kawuma one of the first to pay homage shortly after the news.
Wanyama retires with a rating of 2280. He gained an IM norm in Dar es Salaam in May when he came third at the Zone 4.2 Championship.
Paul Wanderema asked the FM to reconsider his decision since he was nearing the 2300 mark only attained by three East African players [International Masters Arthur Ssegwanyi and Elijah Emojong, and Walter Okas] thus far.
“Harold don’t quit you’re this close to reaching the Elo 2300.”
The 35 year old enjoyed a fruitful year 2016, with his performance at the World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan a memory to remember.
With his five victories at the Olympiad, the FM returned home as the best performing African on board two, and the only Fide Master on that list that had 15 Grand Masters dominate.
To make it even more notable, Wanyama finished 17th ahead of World’s No.3 seed, America’s GM Hikaru Nakamura.
“You will surely be missed” was IM Ssegwanyi’s simple message to now former national team teammate and nemesis.
A board one player at Kireka Chess Club, the four-time Olympian was a driving force at the club as they ousted a dominant DMARK. Kireka beat DMARK 4-1 in the final round of the league in October to clinch the title for the first time in ages.
“Harold, this decision has been timely. The family will surely live to always be inspired by your experience. Sad but happy. Always a part of us,” wrote Edger Ntende, a board four player at Kireka.
Servant Leader thought in the same line: “Timely decision Harold. It’s inevitable to move on at some point! Good luck in all your plans.”
Okas, rated 2308 couldn’t believe it and thought it was some sort of a jest.
“We shall surely miss you. At first I thought you were joking. But I see it’s for real. All the best. But I shall have a retirees’ blitz session a few weeks from now!”
Like Ssegwanyi and Okas, Kireka’s most consistent player this year Simon Gonza said: “I will surely miss the capablanca in Harold”
A well-travelled Wanyama won numerous number of events in his ten-year career, his last being the Kawuma Open in March.
“Welcome to the club but do not give up on chess. Just play for fun and joy,” requested the national team coach Bob Bibasa.