Elijah Emojong Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO

It is a documented fact that Ugandans always dominate the Mombasa International Open. In fact prior to this edition, Ugandans had won the event four consecutive times.

Fide Master Harold Wanyama has won it a record three times, having won it successively between 2009 and 2011.

With this in mind and when Wanyama, International Master Elijah Emojong, FM Haruna Nsubuga, Allan Mathias Ssonko- all former winners confirmed their participation in the Prestige section, majority of Kenyans opted for the Open category that only had two Ugandans.

[/media-credit] Elijah Emojong Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO

With unknown and unrated Fred Okiring and Bashir Yusuf Daahir rated 1499 the only Ugandans the hosts had to face in the Open category, there was a general feeling by Kenyans that the category was theirs to own.

Little did they know that, Okiring, like his countrymen, had come all guns blazing. Having been out of competitive chess for over two years, Okiring entered the event ranked 39th, but not even his long term absence from the game prevented him from joining his compatriots in the list of winners.

Like Emojong in the Prestige category, the former Makerere University Chess Club player won the event with 6.5 points. Okiring put up supreme displays, winning his first six games before drawing against James Madol Panchol the pre-tournament favorite in the last round.

It was a shocking end to the event for the Kenyans who settled for the other podium finishes as the Ugandan walked home with KShs 50,000 as top prize in the Open category.

Leave a comment

Please let us know what you think