Reigning Kenya National Chess Champion for People Living with Disability Sadam Ali. [Washington Onyango, The Standard]

The Kenya National Premier Chess League will resume on Saturday with eight matches set for tip off after more than a year out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chess Kenya League Secretary Anthony Kionga told the The Standard Sports that the league will resume virtually.

Since the International Chess Federation (Fide) suspended in-person competitions due to the pandemic last year, virtual matches have been taking place across the globe thanks to leading online chess websites; lichess.org, chess.com and Internet Chess Club.

Kionga said Chess Kenya has chosen to go virtual especially with the prolonged and uncertainty of high-risk contact sports resumption in the country.

“Digital is the way to go now that we cannot physically play due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are very lucky to have this opportunity of having to play virtually and for all clubs to agree to it shows just how far Kenya is willing to go to grow the game of chess,” he said.

The league has a total of 17 teams, a drop from last year’s figure which was 33 teams. A number of the teams cited challenges in acquiring the necessary gadgets required and poor internet connection from upcountry teams.

“We are glad to have registered such a number because this is a new platform which most players are not used to. We shall only have one match on the opening day so as to identify what challenges we might encounter other than the ones that we already anticipate,” he added.

Lighthouse will take on Strathmore University, Victoria Chess Club play Nyeri Chess Club as Black Knights face Para Chess Club.

Other matches will feature Mombasa Chess take on Kenyatta University, Knight Riders face Daystar, JKUAT play Light Square as UoN play Lighthouse Queens.

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