The game of chess in Nigeria

02 March 2015

The game of chess unlike football is still very much unpopular in Nigeria, this game is basically for the intellectual and although it’s not a team game, in recent time has compared it with boxing and wrestling. It is indisputable that there is a strong psychology behind the game. Which revolves around the player ability to analyze his or her opponents’ style of play, strengths and weaknesses and resolve to conceal one’s emotions. Chess games often played under pressure with a blend of emotional manipulation. If a player display too much confidence or, conversely, a flicker of insecurity, it could give his opponent the ammunition needed to plot his downfall. Players use these loopholes as openings to psych each other out. Preparation for this kind of pressure takes shape in two different ways. In order to get ready for a particular opponent one must study their previous games intently, looking for strengths and weakness. On the other hand, games can also last for up five or six hours in one sitting and as a player one needs to prepare his or herself physically to be able to concentrate for that length of time. One must also develop sitting stamina with a combination of swimming and running training. This routine helps to withstand the emotional and mental pressure that characterized this competitive game.

Internationally the game of chess has been popularized by many icons that rose from different part of the world among such is Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Gary Kasparov, Maurice Ashley and of course the World Champion- Magnus Carlsen just to mention but few.

In Nigeria, there are very few people who have the interest of chess at hand and also there are few who are following the game of chess though many have also contributed their own quota to the game of chess and among such people are International Master Bunmi Olape, International Master Aikhoje Odion, Candidate Master Bomo Kigigha, Fawole John Oyeyemi, who has contributed and of course still much in the game.

Fawole John Oyeyemi was born in the ancient city of Ile-Ife in Osun State, Oyeyemi was introduced to the game of chess in 1998 by his secondary school collogues who taught him the basics of chess. With this Oyeyemi developed interest and thought it wise to go further and study the game, this led him to get for himself more knowledge by reading books about chess.

Also Read: Chess player calls for regular coaching clinics for arbiters

It’s worth to mention that Oyeyemi parent were his first sponsor, at first they needed him to set his priority right and according to Oyeyemi its was very difficult combining chess with academics but he did ,Oyeyemi has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Abuja.

Oyeyemi since 1999 have had serious results and achievements in his chess career, making him one of the few celebrated Nigeria chess players. In 2002, He won the Opens II category of the NBL Chess Championship in Lagos. The following year, He became the National Junior Chess Champion by winning the Augusto & Co under 20 Chess Championship. Following this achievement in 2003, he started playing in the (Masters Category) highest level in Nigerian Chess.  Oyeyemi came 1st Position in the  26th NBL Open Lagos 2002, 1st Position, Augusto & Co U- 20 Junior Championship Lagos 2003,he won Gold Medal at NUGA  University of port Harcourt 2004, Silver Medal NUGA University of port Harcourt 2004 ,he came 1st Position in 9th Friends of Chess Asaba, Delta State 2005,he was also a Qualifier of World Junior Chess Championship, Istanbul, Turkey 2005 in the same year he also won a Gold Medal in Lagos state Sports Festival, in 2006 Oyeyemi won Silver Medal in National Sports festival, Gateway games, Ogun state, he was a Gold Medalistin West African Polytechnic Games , Yaba 2007 In the same year Oyeyemi won Gold medal in the Nigeria University Games (NUGA) UNIMAID 2007,also in 2007 Oyeyemi won the Blitz Silver Medal in West African polytechnic Games, Yaba and he was a  Qualifier to National Camp of the All African Games, Kaduna and Abuja in  2007& 2011 respectively. Oyeyemi went further and won a Silver Medal in West African Polytechnic Games Yamoussoukro, Cote de Voire in 2008. Oyeyemi did not stop winning medals, In 2009 he won Bronze medal in the National Sports festival, KADA Games, Kaduna . he came 1st position in the Abuja Friends of Chess, Abuja 2010,also 1st position, University of Abuja Chess championship 2010, 1st position, Gambit chess club, Makurdi, Benue 2010, He Coached Federal University of technology, Minna to NUGA, UNIBEN 2010 and won a Bronze Medal for FUTMINNA on board 4,he has also Captained University of Abuja Chess team in 2010

Fawole John Oyeyemi Drew England’s (GM NIGEL SHORT) Number one in a simultaneous game 2011, he continue his winning form in 2012 and won Gold medal at West African University Games (WAUG) ILORIN, in the year 2012 he also won, 1st position at the  Gaminer Chess tournament, Abuja and 1st position, Zalika Chess tournament, Abuja. In the year 2013 he won himself 1st position in July Chess Heights Congress, UNILAG, Lagos and reclaimed his 1st position in Zalika Chess tournament, Abuja and 1st position, 1st Nook Rapid Chess tournament, Abuja and also1st Position NBL Chess Championship, Lagos 2013 by the year 2014 he won 1st Position, Trade wise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Gibraltar and 1st position, FIDE Congress, Surrey, United Kingdom and e2e4 West Brom Congress Uk. There are no icons in the game of chess that haven’t lost and according to Oyeyemi he said and I quote

“I have lost counts of tournaments I participated in since I started playing competitively in 1999. I have won over fifty tournaments, big and small. This year, I participated and won 3 tournaments in Europe, played a total of 18 games, won 14, drew one and lost 3.”

Candidate Master Fawole john Oyeyemi was the former National chess champion and has a FIDE (World Chess Federation) rating of 2214. He has the National Chess titles of National Champion, National Master, National Instructor and National Junior Champion. He is the Chief Executive Director, Bruvs Chess Academy, a Chess organization that teaches chess as a school program to schools.Having won numerous awards Fawole John Oyeyemi still has the mission to become the first Chess Grandmaster in Nigeria and West African because according to him, Africa has yielded only seven Grandmasters thus far; from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.


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