Bernice Wambui Gikandi in historic win

Bernice Wambui Gikandi  in historic win

Bernice Wambui Gikandi  of Lighthouse Chess Club made Kenyan chess history last weekend when she won the Open U12 section at the 2022 Kenya National Youth Youth & Cadets Chess Championship.

Khadija Secondary School in Mombasa was the venue of the event, with just over 1,430 players from 170 schools selecting the national team players for each age group.The Open U12 Section had 232 players, with Bernice Wambui Gikandi  being the only girl! 

Bernice Gikandi Wambui is 11 years old and a student of St Peters School in Juja located in the outskirts of Nairobi.  She has also represented Kenya at the 2021 African Youth Chess Championship in AccraGhana.She obtained a perfect score of 8 points from 8 rounds. Matthew Kanegeni, a renowned chess coach, who has worked with Bernice Wambui annotates one of her games from the event.

Hekima Kipkoech v Bernice Wambui
Hekima Kipkoech, Elimu House School
Bernice Wambui, Lighthouse Chess Club1146
Kenya National Youth Chess Championship6
April 5, 2022
Annotated by Matthew Kanegeni
This is the first time in Kenya’s history that a girl has won the Open Category during a national youth championship tournament.
1.e4c52.d4cxd43.Nf3Nc64.Bc4(In this position White usually plays 4.Nxd4, and Black follows with a plethora of plans, such as Taimanov Sicilian, Classical Sicilian, Sveshnikov Sicilian, and Accelerated Dragon. The actual move played in the game is a rare gambit. Maybe White wanted to lure his opponent into playing 4…e7-e5 to defend the “extra pawn”, after which White gains a strong initiative with 5.Nf3-g5.)4…e6(This is the most practical and solid way for Black to continue, preparing to develop her kingside bishop, while at the same time blocking the a2-g8 diagonal against the white bishop on c4.)5.O-OQc76.Nbd2


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