What next for young talents at 19?
Are we losing talent the sooner we nurture it?

I saw Nathan Ateka countless times kwa 'umbali' and decided to rummage through some of the unread messages. He hardly stirs the pot..and when he does one's curiosity is piqued.  Equally so, I have never seen Victor Ngani Chess stoop to the levels of regarding a formidable senior's opinion as 'village-thinking'. Doc your influence on national medical policy influences countless villages out here...FYI.

Nevertheless, you are 1 of the few respectable players I warmed up to easily in my younger years 👌🏾. As always Wanjala Benard's leadership requires an ovation_this man and I got chess back to the Vice Chancellor's desk from being an 'expelled sport'. We even won us a top 3 post in one of the leagues. It was only a matter of time...Excellent👍🏾. Even though at times he comes across as dictatorial & overbearing. Ben Nguku as usual you stay on the right side of the governing echoes of the day 🤭. Touche. 

Well then: My worry over the years has always been that our diligent boys' and girls' dream to make it to the National team is almost dead as soon as they turn 19. All they are left with is reminiscing their trophy days and WYCC trips and glorious certificates. (*I hope parents and teachers are taking note of this reality).

There is a reason why they put up an Amateurs....different from the classics and World Championships. Catch me dead if you find Carlsen and his likes at the Amateur's I laud FIDE for extending such inclusivity, in addition to women separate events.

In my experience, if we are to continue with this BAU (Business As Usual) style of play it will take us decades before we ever reach category B in the Olympiads, let alone the top 10 boards in Category C. Only Egypt, Zim, SA & Algeria ever get to play a round or 2 in category B. No mathematical formula shall change this in the near future...

Can we allow ourselves to look at different scenarios for a minute? With this in mind, can we all agree that since some key tournaments are already a guaranteed reserve for the national team, can we begin leaving others for our beloved young and talented upcoming boys and girls? Surely my Chess people 🙏🏾, is this too much to ask for? Fair enough it has taken us years to make first time appearances in come of these tournaments, but even so, can we grab those opportunities to field our young ones? 

Additionally, we could we even spare board 4/5 for a promising/upcoming player...given the stats I've shared above. How else will we bug young talent if even internationally we literally mop the bottom 20 floor at number 124... This won't change soon, no matter the number of Olympiads, African & Amateur events we attend esp if we aren't spreading the net of inclusivity further wider🙏🏾. 

While at it, can we also find ways of influencing our workplaces to support Chess in one way or another so we can begin seeing additional successful clubs challenging the KCBs that predictably grab the top players? 

Bernard Wanjala taking an interview in the Nairobi Open 2021

If we are to extend the argument of inclusivity towards clubs, can we separate that from perceiving it as favoritism granted that it is inadvertent that top players are snatched up by the 2 clubs?  

If we continue performing dismally at the international level, then can we propose a rotating representation, with the exception of reserving spots for those who perform very well? Btw our ladies always rank better internationally...yet some of the prize funds reflect something else 🤦🏾‍♀️ {Case of Batumi.... @ position 115/150. Men ranked 143/150}. Yaani ladies work so hard internationally only to be presented half the prices locally. Can we then find special rewards for such hard work 🙊? 

And with such results, can the said coaches be benched and someone else appointed? We need periodic coaches' reports. Additionally, since these rankings won't change anytime soon, can we make this rotational, kindly 🙏🏾.

What next for young talents at 19?
Rehema Maria Khimulu 20 October, 2021
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