• Kenyan Chess Federation President Benard Wanjala told Chess.com that the man never spoke to anyone during registration and "simply wrote on a paper his name".
A chess player was kicked out of the Kenya Open Chess Championship tournament in Nairobi after the staff found out that he was disguising himself as a woman.
According to Chess.Com, the man, who has since been identified as Stanly Omondi was posing as a woman under the name Millicent Awuor.
He faked his identity to play in the ongoing women's section of the Kenya Open.
Omondi kept up the pretence by wearing a niqab and not talking to other competitors or staff.
Kenyan Chess Federation President Benard Wanjala told Chess.com that the man never spoke to anyone during registration and "simply wrote on a paper his name".
The staff got suspicious when he won two games in a row, even beating the former national champion Gloria Jumba (rated 1487), before losing to the Ugandan top player Ampaira Shakira (rated 1702).
Chief arbiter Antony Kionga said they were cautious to interfere with Omondi, in the case that they were dealing with an orthodox Muslim woman.
He however added that after the fourth round, he asked the player for an identification document.
At this point, Omondi confessed to the impersonation saying he was a university student, and he was in need of the money.
"The reason was due to financial needs but I deeply regret my action and [am] ready to accept all consequences," he wrote in a letter.
Omondi is a chess player with an international classical rating close to 1500 and a blitz rating close to 1750.
The points that he scored during the tournament were reversed and awarded to his opponents.
Following the incident, the player risks a ban.
Speaking to Nation, Victor Ng'ani, a member of the Chess Kenya Disciplinary Committee, said they will start dealing with the matter once they receive a formal complaint from Wanjala.
"Previously we have punished some small offences, including age cheating with a six-month ban. This being a fraud incident, the player will get a lengthy ban if found guilty," he said.
Over 450 chess players from across the world are participating in the 31st Kenya Open Chess Tournament.
It started on Thursday, April 6 through Monday, April 10, 2023, at the Sarit Expo Centre, Nairobi.
The event is sponsored by, among others, Safaricom and KCB, and the overall winner is expected to take home Sh1 million.