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Chess champion – meet Vivian Muturi

Who is Vivian Muturi?

I am a Standard Eight pupil at Elimu House Schools in Ruai. I’m also the last-born in my family.

How did you start playing chess?

When I was in Class Five, the chess coach had a session in the dining hall and I went to have a look. Four months later after training, I was already playing. I competed in the Nairobi Regionals and emerged second place. I proceeded to nationals and was the best in the junior category. I have 11 medals and nine trophies so far.

What has been your most memorable match so far?

In 2015, during the nationals, we played for four hours and I beat my opponent fairly. But, she couldn’t accept and went to court to challenge my win.

The case was ruled in my favour, but that made me miss out on a match in South Africa. I have been the Kenya National Champion in the under 14 category ever since, four times in a row. That made her stop challenging me.

How about your highlights?

I was in Zimbabwe last year and I met the current Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the chess president in Africa. Next month, I am looking forward to travelling to India to participate in the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2018.

How do you equip yourself for this sport seeing as it is more mental than physical?

I do not consume foods rich in sugar. I take a lot of fruits, vegetables and water, especially when I am about to compete. When I’m at home, I jog with my dad in the morning and cycle. My coach also ensures I swim a lot. I need to be fit physically and mentally to sit through games, because sometimes they can be really long.

How do you maneuver challenges?

I have a strict timetable that I follow, especially because I am sitting KCPE exams this year. My reward for performing well in school is playing chess; I have to pass in order to play chess.

There was a time I was addicted to chess but my coach stepped in, and now, I can balance my various engagements. My father also chips in a lot to fund my local and international tournaments when I don’t have all-expense-paid games. Thirdly, I have grown thick skin because chess is known to be an Asian sport and now, racism doesn’t weigh me down.

What else do you enjoy apart from chess?

I sing sometimes to Camila Cabello’s songs, and like dancing too. I also do blitz (short chess matches) with my classmates and with my family when I’m at home. My family supports me a lot during my matches, so I enjoy spending time with them.

What are your future plans?

I will continue to play chess in the high school I will attend. I want to be a brain surgeon when I grow up.

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