Kenyan man disguises as woman to compete in chess championship

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2 Min Read


Stanley Omondi was busted after he wore an Arabic veil to compete in a national chess tournament.

His decoy could only last as far as the fourth round in a women’s competition whose winner was to walk home with 2,500 USD.

He dressed in a black hijab coupled with spectacles and registered as Millicent Awour.

The organisers revealed that they became suspicious after Omondi win a series of difficult games yet “She” had no record in the game and it was easy for novices to get there.

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According to a story run by the BBC on Monday, Kenya Chess federation president revealed that Omondi could not communicate or talk with his opponents and also did not talk to the organisers while picking his tags.

“We didn’t have any suspicion at first, because wearing a hijab is normal,”

Wanjala told BBC Sport Africa.

“But along the way, we noticed he won against very strong players… and it will be unlikely to have a new person who has never played a tournament [being very strong].”

“One of the red flags we also noticed [was] the shoes, he was wearing more masculine shoes, than feminine,”

Wanjala added

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“We also noticed he was not talking, even when he came to collect his tag, he couldn’t speak, ordinarily, when you are playing, you speak to your opponent… because playing a chess game is not war its friendship.”

“When he advanced, after he won a very strong match and we called him, he was not surprised,”

“He acknowledged that indeed he is a man. He regrets what happened, apologised and said he was only doing that because he had financial difficulties and thought winning the title will help him overcome.”

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The tournament attracted over 400 players from 22 countries

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