Last week a 25 year-old Kenyan chess player, Stanley Omondi, disguised himself as a woman and dressed in a burka to play in the female category of the Kenya Open chess tournament hosted in Nairobi. He said in a letter that he did it because he had "financial needs" and made it to the fourth round of the competition before organizers caught onto the ruse and ejected him from the tournament.
According to a report by the BBC, Omondi registered for the tournament under the name Millicent Awour. He first drew attention to himself when he won against "very strong players," Chess Kenya President Bernard Wanjala said.
"It will be unlikely to have a new person who has never played a tournament," Wanjala added.
Wanjala also mentioned other red flags and said, "we also noticed the shoes, he was wearing more masculine shoes, than feminine."
"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," Wanjala said.
After Omondi won against a very strong opponent the organizers decided to approach him. According to Wanjala, "He (Omondi) acknowledged that indeed he is a man. He regrets what happened, apologized and said he was only doing that because he had financial difficulties and thought winning the title will help him overcome."
The grand prize for the tournament was over $3,000 and the event drew a crowd of over 400 players from 22 different countries.In his letter, Omondi wrote that he is "ready to accept all consequences." Speaking about the punishment, Wajala said, "It is an extreme case, the verdict may include a ban. I rule out a life ban, but he may be given several years' ban from playing chess."