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Nairobi News : November 11th 2013
sport Purity Mwangi gestures during the interview. | Anne Kamoni, NairobiNews Blazing the trail. Purity reluctantly began playing the sport while in high school where she rose to become the Mombasa Open Champion and is now aiming for the prestigious World International master award BRIAN YONGA, NairobiNews email@example.com hours later. That is how Purity Maina, the N reigning Mombasa Open Chess Champion gstarted playing in 2002 while in high school. She had never played the game before and when the chance came up, Purity agreed reluctantly. “On the eve of an intertournament, schools members of the school chess team were nowhere to be seen, throwing the captain in panic. She requested me to fill in but I refused because I knew nothing about the sport,” she recalls. The captain convinced her and even offered to Purity: On the eve of an interschools tourney, members of the chess squad in our school were nowhere to be seen throwing the captain in panic mode. She requested me to fill the void but I refused because I knew nothing about the sport” ot many people are capable of learning a sport in one day and winning a few Monday, November 11, 2013 NAIROBINEWS.CO.KE 29 She learnt chess in a day and has not looked back train Maina. She agreed, not knowing that it would be the beginning of her prowess in the sport. Remarkably, out of the five players that represented Nile Road Girls High School the following day in the competition, only Purity won a game. The win developed her interest in the sport. Thereafter, she joined the chess club where she improved her skills and continued representing the school at various competitions In 2003, Mwangi qualified for the All African Games in Abuja but lacked funds to travel. The following year, she also qualified for another event in Maputo but skipped it because she was sitting for her Form Four examinations. Prestigious title “I did not lose hope because I knew more tournaments would come my way and my game was growing”, she told NairobiNews. Purity’s first international event in Dresden, Germany in 2008 was her best moment. She won a prestigious title – Women Candidate Master after beating her opponent, ranked 500 places above her. She managed to attain a 50 per cent mark score. “It is a title I cherish to date because it was a turning point in my career. I knew I could achieve whatever I wanted in the sport,” says Purity. Further tournaments in Maputo, Mozambique both in 2011 and Russia 2010 increased her experience and helped build her reputation as one of the country’s best female chess players. Purity, an orphan, was born in Nairobi in a family of three girls. She lost her father in 1997 and then her mother in 2005. The player describes her late mother as her biggest fan and inspiration. “My mother attended all my matches and helped me collect my awards. At times she told me to put my education on hold to pursue chess,” Purity recalls nostalgically. She is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of Chess Kenya and together with colleagues they are looking to popularise the sport, especially in schools. “I hope I have been able to inspire other women to take up the sport. A lot of people are put off from chess fearing it is an elite sport but it’s open to everyone,” says Purity. As the player continues basking in glory, she hopes to win the World International Master (WIM) award and also become an International umpire in the sport.
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