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Chess: Kenya’s Magana dethrones Emojong at Mombasa Open

CHESS | Kenyans ran perennial Mombasa Chess Open champions Uganda rugged before grabbing the championship for the first time in four years.

Ugandans had been accustomed to winning in Kenya, and the same script was expected to be written, but Kenya’s Candidate Master Ben Magana had different ideas.

In a breathtaking end to the championship, Magana ended the dominance.

Rated 2074, Magana beat compatriot Joseph Methu Muragu in the final round to outpoint the visitors making him the only second player in a decade to best Ugandans.

The only man that had managed to do that in recent times was Brian Kidula. Kidula won the event in 2014 after five successive victories to Ugandans.

Magana’s road to success saw him battle the tournament’s favourite and the defending champion International Master Elijah Emojong. The two men faced off in the penultimate round with both tied on four points and spoils were shared.

Into the last round, it was winner take all. Unfortunately for the IM, he was pitted against a strong opposition in Fide Master Haruna Nsubuga.

Emojong, looking to win the event for the third consecutive time — and equal Harold Wanyama’s record — couldn’t outsmart the FM. It was a deadlock and the defending champion could only settle for the second place.

Nsubuga accumulated the same number of points (5) as his compatriot but his lower tie-break meant he finished outside rewarding positions. The rated 2196 came fourth.

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