Kenya National Chess Champion Humphrey Andolo

Humphrey Andolo is Kenya’s most prolific chess champion winning the title in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 1999. His record might not be broken any time soon. Chess in Kenya has become more competitive, and a player as dominant as Andolo in his heydays is not on the horizon.

Chess was different in the nineties when online chess and chess engines had not made their entry. Players were not as many but they fanatically met for tournaments at the United Kenya Club, blitz at the YMCA, or practice at St John Ambulance. It was and probably still is the best way to learn chess.

Humphrey Andolo played for Kenya in the 1998, 2000, and 2008 Chess Olympiad. He got his best result in 2008 in Dresden, Germany with 5 wins and 5.5 points. In round 9 Andolo’s opponent gifted a Queen, but his win in round 5 against Luis Pan Zhang of Panama was hard-fought. Let’s take a look.

There was a turning point in the game on move 16 when White could have put his Bishop on a dominant square. After that White made several inaccurate moves, but Black did well in turning the game around. It exemplifies Andolo’s combative style that made him so successful.

Unfortunately for chess in Kenya, Andolo (and others) left for England and records indicate that he became club champion of South Bristol Chess Club in 2014-15. Some of his ‘old’ buddies like John Mukabi and Larry Kagambi are still active in Kenyan chess, but one wonders how Andolo would have fared against the current generation of chess players.

Time for me to sign off. Stay on top of COVID-19 by following the WHO Guidelines and keep playing combative chess to become a chess champ like Humphrey Andolo!


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