Purity Maina: “We will pour the “newly born” over from head to toe with water!”

Kenya’s women’s national team first board together with our reporters congratulates Kenyan chess player Elizabeth Esavwa with her birthday.

– I met Elizabeth at a school chess club in 2002. Despite the fact that I am 2 years older we became close friends. She often comes to me for a night, and we make a pajama party. She is my best friend – dear, friendly and cheerful. She doesn’t try to be a friend for everyone; she has a certain circle of people with who she goes through life.

– How did she come into the chess world?

– It all started with the fact that she had several neighbors and friends who played chess in Nairobi. Watching them playing she wanted to learn it herself, and when the school opened a chess club, she went there and didn’t ever regret about it.

– Does her family support her?

– Certainly. Her mother is a good and kind-hearted person, she supports her daughter in all undertakings. But she does not go to the tournaments, because it is rather boring to watch them for a person, who is far from chess. Therefore, her mother stays home and prays for her daughter to win.

– What does Elizabeth like besides chess?

– She liked chemistry in school, but did not become a chemist because she has found another job that allows her to participate in chess tournaments. Now she is working as a secretary in a company engaged in drilling water wells. Because of constant training and work we rarely manage go to movies or to the swimming pool together.

– Describe your friend as a chess player.

– She is aggressive and fast enough. Never gives up and she is always looking for an opportunity to attack. We call this style "wild". She hates playing in draw and especially does not like losing. For example, recently, in the 7th round in a match against Libya, the game was going to a draw, and the opponent suggested that but Elizabeth refused, and eventually won. Well done!

– Can you tell us any interesting story connected with Elizabeth?

– Hmm ... You know she really wanted to have a photo with Karpov in Khanty-Mansiysk. So, once we were passing by Karpov, a chess player was surrounded by people. But Elizabeth having rather small height managed to push everyone apart, came to him and said cheerfully patting him on the shoulder: "Hello, I would love to take picture with you!". I hope that someday she would play chess with chess stars, not just take their autographs.

– Is this her first Olympiad?

– Yes. We usually go to the tournaments which are held in Kenya’s provinces, sometimes in neighboring Uganda, where you can find worthy opponents.

– How are you going to congratulate Elizabeth?

– We are going to buy her a cake and maybe a bottle of vodka (smiling embarrassed). We are in Russia, why not? – With an excuse in her voice, laughing, continued Purity. – After the game we will come to her room singing the traditional «Happy Birthday», and then by our Kenyan tradition we will pour her over from head to toe with water. We always do it, when we congratulate someone.

– What do you want to wish her?

– I wish her many years of life and to see her great-grandchildren. I want to wish her as s player to become a master as soon as possible.