For the second time in a row, Gilliane Otieno, Raisa Wanjiku and Maxrore Wambua qualified to represent Kenya in the World Youth Chess Championships held in Durban South Africa from September 20-29, 2014.
This year’s event was held at the magnificent International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban. It was a significant competition in the sense that it was the very first time the event was being held in Africa and was a special moment not just for the participants but the disciples children as well. Gilliane Otieno (Girls under-10 category), Raisa Wanjiku (Girls under-12 category) and Maxrore Wambua (Boys under-10 category) are all children of disciples from the Macedonian sector.
With participants coming from more than 100 countries all over the world, it was an experience and a half for everyone involved. The journey to Durban started in the wee hours of September 19, 2014 when accompanied by their parents and family members, the three children boarded the plane to Durban. It was a journey that would take them almost an entire day as they made a stop-over in Johannesburg before proceeding to their final destination. After almost seven hours of travelling; the team finally arrived in their hotel at the Garden Court South Beach hotel located on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
After a quick shower and dinner, it was time to settle down as the tournament was scheduled to start the following day in the afternoon.
When the tournament started, it was a gruelling first five round of matches followed by a rest day spent mostly on the beach and shopping. The children also found time to visit the disciples at the Durban Church of Christ who were inspired by their understanding of a game that is considered very difficult.
After 11 rounds of play against very experienced opposition, the three could boast of having improved on their individual performances compared to the first time they took part in the event two years ago in Slovenia.
All their parents and family members were glad to see them back after an 11 day absence and could only thank God for having taken good care of them. The children are also grateful to their coach Samuel Kimani who encouraged them to take up the sport in the first place.
South Africa is well known to have hosted major sporting events in the past with the 2010 World Cup remaining the major highlight for the rainbow nation. The country has also hosted the Rugby and Cricket World Cup which has laid out a magnificent foundation for the world youth chess tournament in 2014.