Strathmore is back in Kenya’s Top flight Chess League

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In a riveting display of  skill, the Strathmore University chess team has reclaimed its  position in the pinnacle of Kenyan chess. After facing the disappointment of relegation from division one to division two last season, the team refused to be disheartened and instead set their sights on a triumphant return.

Last season, the Strathmore knights found themselves in an unfamiliar predicament, relegated from division one to division two. It was a hard blow, a check they didn’t see coming. The prestige of competing at the top of the premiership was momentarily lost. 

But did our chess crusaders tuck their tails and retreat? Far from it.

In chess, where every move matters and the game isn’t over until the last piece falls, they knew the game wasn’t over for them. Division two, often underestimated, proved to be a highly competitive arena, with every team vying for the coveted promotion spots. It  proved to be  a battlefield of minds.  Yet, from the get-go, Strathmore University’s chess team was back, not just to play but to conquer. Triumphing for the first four weekends, they claimed the top spot, a clear statement that they were not here to participate but to dominate.

However, this journey wasn’t without its challenges. The team faced a moment where they had to call upon their less experienced players. This move, risky to some, was their queen’s gambit. These rising stars,  like Kelvin Njoroge—who won an award as the best board 4 player in the division—and Roby Kabbis, did not  disappoint. Instead, they seized the opportunity, playing with the poise of seasoned pros and the hunger of newcomers. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. And, my, how they almost came to an end! 

The ultimate test came in a match against the formidable University of Nairobi (UON) team. It was a draw that felt like a loss, a result that could have spelled the end of their division one dreams. But the Strathmore team? They didn’t see a setback; they saw an opportunity and with a passion that burned so deep. They were aware that  a draw, in any other circumstance a result as bland as unsalted porridge would certainly derail their division one bid.

 And just like that, they clinched their spot in the top three and earned their ticket back to the big leagues. So, what’s the secret to their triumphant return to division one? Some might nod towards their talented and passionate players who played each game with the consistency of a rook and the daring of a knight. But team captain Ian Mutuge attributes this to a blend of these together with a narrative of victory.

And if there’s a moral to this story, it’s probably this: in chess, as in life, every move counts, every challenge is an opportunity, and sometimes, the greatest victories come after the hardest battles.

Your move, division one. Strathmore is ready.

Article written by: Keith Albert

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