A Kenyan man named Stanley Omondi has gone viral for participating in the 2023 Kenya Open Chess Championship by disguising himself as a woman.
Omondi dressed in a hijab and niqab to conceal his identity, and used the name Millicent Awuor to register for the women’s section of the tournament.
He covered his head, and face completely, and wore spectacles on the small opening that revealed his eyes. The tournament took place from April 6 to April 10 at the Sarit Expo Center in Nairobi.
Despite initial success, suspicion arose among fellow competitors due to his unusual walking style and footwear, and lack of communication.
Omondi’s deception was only uncovered after he defeated former Kenya National Chess Championship Women’s section winner Gloria Jumba and top Ugandan player Ampaira Shakira.
He was interrogated by tournament officials and ultimately admitted to being male, citing financial difficulties at university as his motivation for cheating in the tournament.
According to the founding chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) and winner of the 2018 Kenya National Chess Championship, the offense committed by Stanley Omondi is severe enough to warrant a significant punishment.
In the past, the chess community has punished minor offenses such as age cheating with a six-month ban. However, given the fraud involved in this incident, if Omondi is found guilty, he will face a much longer ban from the sport.