Nigeria Olympiad Qualifer on tap!

In a novel attempt to field the strongest possible team from the Nigerian Diaspora, the Nigerian federation is holding qualifiers on three continents. The North American Zone will be held in Houston, Texas beginning this weekend. Nigerians from around the continental U.S. will be competing. Below is the announcement.


The World Chess Olympiad is a mega chess extravaganza that takes place bi-annually. The “who is who” of the chess world from all the chess playing countries of the world will be at the Olympiad. This year, four months after the Beijing Olympics, the 38th Chess Olympiad will kick off in Dresden, Germany from the 12th to 25th of November 2008. One of the chief activities of all the chess federations of the world, at the moment, is to select a very strong team to represent them in Dresden. Some chess federations, such as the one in the United States, have selected their team while others are half way there.

The dilemma that most chess federation faces is the best way to select their team. Some choose to base their selection on rating, titles or past performance at recent tournaments or even past chess Olympiad while others chose to conduct a trial in other to cast a wider net in search of talented chess players.

Nigeria is one of such countries faced with this dilemma. With so many talented chess players scattered around the globe, selecting a team to Dresden is not an easy one. This year, Nigeria is trying something new. Given the fact that the Olympiad is around the corner, and there is no time left for every chess players to go back to Nigeria for a trial, the selection process has been divided into 3 zones: Zone 1: Europe, Zone 2: United States and Zone 3: Nigeria.

The idea behind this initiative is to allow talented chess players to stay in their geographic location (with minimal disruption to their lives activities as possible) while competing for a chance to represent their country. It is the zone 2 part of the trial that is going to start this weekend at the Crown Plaza hotel in Southwest, Houston, Texas. Nigeria chess players, most of who are US Chess Federation ranked chess players will converge in Houston to fight for the 1 spot allocated for their zone.

In a few days, the Nigerian chess players in Europe will also begin their own chess event to select one player who will join the team to Dresden, German from their zone.

The zone 3 in Nigeria, which has a bulk of the chess players just concluded a very strong Olympiad trial tournament this past weekend. 3 male and 3 female chess players have been selected. After the trials in the US and Europe, 2 male players and 1 female player from both the US and Europe are expected to join the Nigerian team to Dresden, Germany.

In essence, this exercise has open up a new idea to chess players everywhere that by opening the door to young and old talented chess players, we are forging the development of the game while promoting a nationalistic pride in the participants. Many chess players are just happy to be a part of this selection process and it promises to produce bigger chess initiatives in the near future.

As noted recently by some commentators, including the former President of the World Chess Federation, Florencia Campomanes, seeding chess players is becoming outdated. Players have to fight for a spot to represent their countries. The way to promote the growth of a sport that is still not as popular as other sports is to have more competition and to educate the public about the beauty of chess. This is what is driving the Nigeria Olympiad selection process and it has received tremendous success already.

We look forward to a good chess selection tournament and we hope to see you at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Adekunle Elegbede, International Coordinator
Nigeria Chess Federation

Adekunle Elegbede


  1. Breaking News!

    The Nigerian Qualifier is underway and ten players are currently in the second round of play in Houston, Texas. Organizer Kunle Elegbede reports that NM George Umezinwa has made the trip and thus has come out of retirement to play in this historic event.

    Venue for 2008 Nigerian Olympiad Qualifier (Zone 2- USA)

    Crown Royal Plaza Hotel (Houston, Texas, USA)
    Venue for 2008 Nigerian Olympiad Qualifier (Zone 2- USA)

    Umezinwa was one of the top players in Illinois back in the 80s and has since moved to Ohio to raise a family. He is currently playing fellow National Master Dr. Okechukwu Iwu. IM Oladapo Adu is currently participating, but the field will miss the presence of NM Chikwere Onyekwere due to unforeseen circumstances. Dr. Sylvester Smarty will provide a challenge.

    Official Coverage:

    First Round in Progress.

    Kenneth Odeh vs. George Umezinwa (0-1)
    Photos by Adekunle Elegbede.

  2. Okey Iwu pulls on top of the field with a win over Umezinwa. Adu and Smarty called a truce leaving them on +1. Two marquee matchups on tap for tonight as Iwu plays Smarty and Adu gets Umezinwa. Umezinwa was once rated 2400 and he will cross swords with “Dapo.” What a matchup!

    SwissSys Standings after 2

    # Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Tot TBrk[A] TBrk[K] TBrk[M]
    1 Iwu Okechukwu 2210 W10 W5 2.0 2034.5 8 1
    2 Adu Oladapo 2310 W4 D3 1.5 1970.5 6 1.5
    3 Smarty Sylvester 2008 W6 D2 1.5 1913 6 1.5
    4 Oguntuase Ayodele 1933 L2 W8 1.0 2139 5 0
    5 Umezinwa George 2251 W7 L1 1.0 2030.5 5 0
    6 Gbenle Toyin 1516 L3 W10 1.0 1913 5 0
    7 Odeh Kenneth 1851 L5 W9 1.0 1880 5 0
    8 Osanyinjobi Ola 1968 W9 L4 1.0 1721 5 0
    9 Odutola Yomi unr. L8 L7 0.0 1909.5 2 1
    10 Alade Ayokunle 1818 L1 L6 0.0 1863 2 1

    Pairings for Round 3

    Bd # Res White Player Name # Res Black Player Name
    1 3 Iwu Okechukwu 4 Smarty Sylvester
    2 1 Adu Oladapo 2 Umezinwa George
    3 5 Osanyinjobi Ola 7 Odeh Kenneth
    4 9 Gbenle Toyin 6 Oguntuase Ayodele
    5 10 Odutola Yomi 8 Alade Ayokunle

    Official Coverage:

    Sylvester Smarty vs. IM Oladapo Adu (½-½)
    Photo by Adekunle Elegbede.

  3. Adu pulls into joint first with Okey after winning over Umezinwa while Okey and Smarty split the point. The two will face each other in round four.

    SwissSys Standings after round 3

    # Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Tot TBrk[A] TBrk[K] TBrk[M]
    1 Adu Oladapo 2310 W4 D3 W6 2.5 2064 10 4
    2 Iwu Okechukwu 2210 W9 W6 D3 2.5 2025.5 10 3
    3 Smarty Sylvester 2008 W7 D1 D2 2.0 2012 8 5
    4 Oguntuase Ayodele 1933 L1 W5 W7 2.0 1931 9 4.5
    5 Osanyinjobi Ola 1968 W10 L4 W8 2.0 1754 9 3
    6 Umezinwa George 2251 W8 L2 L1 1.0 2123.5 6 3.5
    7 Gbenle Toyin 1516 L3 W9 L4 1.0 1919.5 6 3
    8 Odeh Kenneth 1851 L6 W10 L5 1.0 1899 6 1
    9 Alade Ayokunle 1818 L2 L7 W10 1.0 1735 6 1
    10 Odutola Yomi unr. L5 L8 L9 0.0 1879 3 2

    Pairings for Round 4

    Bd # Res White Player Name # Res Black Player Name
    1 3 Iwu Okechukwu 1 Adu Oladapo
    2 4 Smarty Sylvester 5 Osanyinjobi Ola
    3 7 Odeh Kenneth 6 Oguntuase Ayodele
    4 2 Umezinwa George 8 Alade Ayokunle
    5 9 Gbenle Toyin 10 Odutola Yomi

    Official Coverage:

    Bola Ogunjimi of Finger-Licking Bukateria and Arbiter Francis Guadalupe.

    Bola Ogunjimi of Finger-Licking Bukateria and Arbiter Francis Guadalupe.

    Bola and Francis watching IM Oladapo Adu topple NM George Umezinwa.

    Bola and Francis watching IM Oladapo Adu and NM George Umezinwa.

    Blitz Battle!

    Blitz Battle!
    Photos by Adekunle Elegbede.

  4. It’s interesting. I told Okey Iwu that it would be something if he won the tournament. However, he’d better beat Adu in this matchup because he’d be at a disadvantage in a blitz tiebreak. Adu is a blitz specialist.

    Predictions? Well… my sentimental choice is Okey. Yea… he’s a good chess friend of mine, but he definitely stands a realistic chance because he plays solid and capitalizes on mistakes. I could see them drawing and going all out for a win in the last round. Both have played all the strongest players, but Okey may have to play Ola who can be dangerous. Interesting finale shaping up.

    I can’t express how good it is to see Umezinwa playing again. He’s one of the nicest players you’ll meet. He won the World Open under-2000 back in the 80s and pocketed $18,000. He bolted up to 2200 in a short time and then up to 2400 peak in 1993. He was very well-respected in the Chicago area.

  5. I am glad to see Umezinwa out of retirement as well. I often wondered where he went. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we will see of him!

    Sorry guys. I wasn’t able to make Houston this trip. I have been unable to reach my contact.

  6. It’s nice to see how the selection process is playing out,and i wanna say thanks to everyone who has made this possible.My regards to Mr.Kunle Elegbende for his tireless works,the chief tournament director Mr.Franc Guadaloupe,his assistant Quayle Johnson,and the tournament coordinator Dr.Jide Falana and all the participating players.
    I feel very sad that i am not there right now taking part in this process due to some unforeseen circumstances beyond my control,and i assume the whole process is to select the very best Nigerian player in this zone to represent Nigeria at the prestigious Olympiad in Dresden,Germany.
    As a result,i am calling out to challenge the winner of the tournament,who ever it maybe for a match for that spot!

  7. It was clear from the biginning that Oladapo Adu was gonna win this,and i assume the whole process was to pick the very best chess player from this zone to represent Nigeria at the Olympiad.With all due respect to everyone involve,i don’t think that is the case here,as i’m very confident that i would win the tournament if i had taken part.To prove this,i’m calling Mr.Oladapo Adu to a match for that spot!I think this representative should prove himself in every way,and i know alot of people will really like to see that matchup too.
    The stage has been set,and i am ready to prove this.

  8. Adu has taken possession of 1st with a win over Okey Iwu. This puts him in a position to clinch the Olympiad spot with a draw. However, he will face a dangerous opponent in Ola who just beat Smarty. Smarty was unable to bring his “intifada” to Houston. Chicago-based Ola Osanyinjobi (1968) is known more for blitz and photography, but if he wins this bout, he’ll be headed to Dresden!

    Standings after round 4

    # Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Tot TBrk[A] TBrk[K] TBrk[M]
    1 Adu Oladapo 2310 W4 D5 W7 W3 3.5 2100.5 14 7
    2 Osanyinjobi Ola 1968 W10 L4 W8 W5 3.0 1817.5 13 6
    3 Iwu Okechukwu 2210 W9 W7 D5 L1 2.5 2096.5 11 7
    4 Oguntuase Ayodele 1933 L1 W2 W6 D8 2.5 1911 11 8
    5 Smarty Sylvester 2008 W6 D1 D3 L2 2.0 2001 9 5.5
    6 Gbenle Toyin 1516 L5 W9 L4 X10 2.0 1919.5 6 3.5
    7 Umezinwa George 2251 W8 L3 L1 D9 1.5 2047 8 5.5
    8 Odeh Kenneth 1851 L7 W10 L2 D4 1.5 1907.5 8 4.5
    9 Alade Ayokunle 1818 L3 L6 W10 D7 1.5 1864 8 5.5
    10 Odutola Yomi unr. L2 L8 L9 F6 0.0 1879 3 3

    Pairings for Round 5

    Bd # Res White Player Name # Res Black Player Name
    1 1 Adu Oladapo 5 Osanyinjobi Ola
    2 6 Oguntuase Ayodele 3 Iwu Okechukwu
    3 2 Umezinwa George 4 Smarty Sylvester
    4 7 Odeh Kenneth 9 Gbenle Toyin
    8 1 Alade Ayokunle BYE

    Official Coverage:

    Nigerian players relaxing in the lobby after round 4.
    Of course Smarty (dark suit) is playing blitz.
    Photo by Adekunle Elegbede.

  9. IM Oladapo Adu has won the Qualifier beating Ola Osanyinjobi in the final round. He ends on 4.5/5 followed by Okey Iwu on 3.5/5 and Ola came in 3rd with 3/5. Games and more photos coming soon!

    The result was widely expected although this exercise can be considered a rousing success… certainly not a formality. This transcontinental qualifying events show the possibilities and can serve as a model for other federations. The Drum commends and salutes Adekunle Elegbede and thanks all those who helped to make this historic event a success!

    Final Standings

    # Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot TBrk[A] TBrk[K] TBrk[M]
    1 Adu Oladapo 2310 W5 D8 W4 W2 W3 4.5 2074 18 11.5
    2 Iwu Okechukwu 2210 W6 W4 D8 L1 W5 3.5 2064 15 11.5
    3 Osanyinjobi Ola 1968 W10 L5 W7 W8 L1 3.0 1916 14 11.5
    4 Umezinwa George 2251 W7 L2 L1 D6 W8 2.5 2039 12 8
    5 Oguntuase Ayodele 1933 L1 W3 W9 D7 L2 2.5 1971 12 9
    6 Alade Ayokunle 1818 L2 L9 W10 D4 B— 2.5 1864 8 5
    7 Odeh Kenneth 1851 L4 W10 L3 D5 W9 2.5 1829 12 6.5
    8 Smarty Sylvester 2008 W9 D1 D2 L3 L4 2.0 2051 10 10.5
    9 Gbenle Toyin 1516 L8 W6 L5 X10 L7 2.0 1902.5 7 6.5
    10 Odutola Yomi unr. L3 L7 L6 F9 U— 0.0 1879 3 4.5
  10. It was a nice experience all the way around. Seeing so many old friends again. Chillin’ out at Finger Lickin’ restaurant. Enjoying the amenities at the generally excellent hotel. Watching an admittedly rusty NM George Umezinwa play was also a treat. That he was there to play was even more evident when he declined an early offer of a draw from Smarty in their last round game!

    The organization was excellent, even factoring in our penchant for doing things on “Nigerian time”. Hats off to Kunle, Franc and Quayle, who each did a yeoman’s job! And yes, why in the world does it take days to weeks to have some other tourneys rated??

    IM Adu was the deserved winner, playing practical chess, and taking his chances when they appeared. I had my fair (unfair?) share of good fortune, so can not complain too much about my result.

    It would be interesting to see an Adu-Onyekwere II, but I don’t know if this Olympiad process is the time. If Adu does agree to the match before the Olympiad, hopefully they can make their own arrangements, especially since they both live in the North East.

    Ok, now I have to transition “Back to Reality”. Bills gotta get paid!


  11. The tournament was a great success and leads me to suggest we put together a national tournament so that everybody can benefit from the excellence showed by the organisers.
    As regards any kind of match with Dapo Adu. It cannot have anything to do with selection for the world chess Olympiad. That would make a mockery of all our efforts in attending this event and would be a monumental insult to Nigerian chess players and their effort to find solutions to our unique chess circumstances.
    The qualifier for the national chess team to Dresden USA zone is complete and final and the representative is Dapo Adu.
    Congrats to Dapo for some excellent games and the courage to put both his Fide and National rating on the line against many lower rated players. let us Support IM Adu in his efforts to become a grandmaster.
    The younger pretenders to the throne still have to prove themselves to deserve respect and continued support from our chess players.

  12. In response to the statement from Kenneth Odeh,i do not have any point to prove against low rated1500 and 1600 players or even 1800 players.That was more of a get together tournament you guys had,and it doesn’t prove anything!If you wanna have an Olympiad trials,then it should be done in the proper way,and not inviting players i can give a queen odds,that is an insult to me too.So i really do not care what ever you guys say or think about me,i do not play chess to please you guys!

  13. Chikwere the best answer to a challenge is to proof yourself. To make a statement that insults a group of players most whom you do not know is a really bad move. It shows very poor taste and limited education.
    Most of us have little or no knowledge of who you are as a chess player. My only memory of you is some guy calling me with demands and stories of financial hardships.
    Now if you showed any talent or have any prospect as a chess player I would be more concerned with you. But I truely believe that you are not going to make anything of yourself not just in chess but in life if you do not change your attitude and develop some humility and common sense. Again if I was you and some one spoke about my prospects in life in such a dismissive way. I would do everything I can to proof him wrong.
    If I sound like I am talking to a child it is because you are conducting yourself like one. I am going to request an unconditional apology from you to every chess player in that tournament you just insulted. You will make that apology both on the Nigerian chess forum and on chess drum. If I do not see such an apology posted there as quickly as you responded to my post. You will pay a high prize for your poor move in the Nigeria chess community.
    People make mistakes but part of the maturing process is carrying the cross for your mistakes. I hope you are man enough to bear that cross. Nigerian chess has no need for your type of person. Note I did not say chess player. We are not just interested in the chess player but also the person. We have no desire to mix with the dregs of society and hoodlums. So if you want to associate with the likes of people you saw at that tournament. You have to first of all begin by trying to get a college education and learning some manners.
    Accept this as some free fatherly advice from someone old enough to be your father. Please also stop talking about giving queen odds to anyone. The last time I heard about you giving any kind of odds you ended up flat on your stomach begging for everything including parts of your clothes. After I finished laughing at the stories of you and chess odds, I said we all done that and I sure hope he grows up.
    Again you have no real chess achievements worthy of comment and I doubt you have the character that is required to achieve success. I would be happy to see you proof me wrong. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for that day. You have a long way to go. Just go ahead and post that apology and I would make an effort to get you forgiveness from the others you insulted.

  14. Gentlemen,
    Enough of this already. Let us all chill a little. Enough has been said that is not desirable and thefore it is important not to continue with this on the blog if you don’t mind. We have to think twice before we put anything in writing especially insulting things . I suppose the rule of blogging is to be courteous to others.

    As for the Nigeria – US trial, it is over with. IM Dapo Adu is the winner and will be going to the Olympiad without any challenge of any sort. There may be other tournaments in the future even before the Olympiad, but it’s not going to be for the Olympiad selection and the way to organize such an event is not dragging it out on the blog. It takes hard work and proper planning.

    However, the European leg of the Nigerian trial is still open and anyone can still participate in that. We made that clear long time ago. Anyone from any zone can participate in any trial from any zone. The zoning of this event is just for the convenience of the players at this late stage of the Olympiad selection. I do understand how emotions can sometime be high in a matter like this, but we have to think twice before we say anything that we may regret later.

    I trust you will take my one cent advice and let peace reign.

    Best regards,
    Kunle Elegbede

  15. Kenneth,u can go to hell,and u will not get any apology from me no matter how long you wait.If you got insulted,it was because you couldn’t control your big mouth,and you’re not old enough to be my father too.Talking about achievements in chess,u’ve been playing chess since i was born,and u’re still in the 1800’s.I do not play chess to please you,and i wasn’t gonna come to Houston to see your scary face too.If i made a comment earlier not directed to you,and you decided to open your big mouth,then you deserve every insult you got.And you know what,about the players too,i wasn’t refering to Dr.Smarty,Iwu,Ola,Umezinwa and Ayodele,but u’re definately among the 1800’s!and you can go to hell,for i really don’t care.Just in case you don’t know,i’m be 23 very soon,and by the time i get to your age,i’ll be doing better than you are now.
    So once again,you can go to hell!

  16. All I know is that Nigerian chess players are brilliant and talented people. Yes, there has been a lot of problems in the chess development in Nigeria but that will be over soon. There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to play in so many chess tournaments that the best players will emerge while many others will improve every time they play. As long as we retain the proper decorum , we would remain winners together. Again It’s over now. Let’s move on to other more positive subjects such as how we can organize more tournaments and help chess players obtain GM norms. Competition is good for everyone but insult is self defeating . You are all wonderful people and you should remain that way.

  17. Chikwere,

    I’m sorry this has become personal and I feel your frustration. Believe me, everyone would have liked for you to have been there to compete. It was highly-anticipated. I was under the impression that you intended to travel to Houston and play under the agreed format and rules. I’m not sure of your own reasons for not attending, but this event was historic nevertheless. Chikwere, this idea is for the future of Nigerian chess (of which you are a part) and the idea is not limited to choosing someone for Dresden. It has a far deeper purpose.

    All of the players competing in the qualifier sacrificed for the future of Nigerian chess… even the one 1500 player. Many of these players are very busy otherwise, but they traveled to Houston to play. Kenneth Odeh (airline pilot), Dr. Okey (physician), Dr. Smarty (psychiatrist) are accomplished in their careers and that alone should make you feel some pride. In addition, all have sacrificed and paved the way for young Nigerian talents… like yourself.

    George Umezinwa is a class act and as humble as they come. He most certainly would be appalled and that may not concern you, but there is something to be said about respect for predecessors. Remember when Garry Kasparov wrote about the previous World Champions in his impressive series? He didn’t try to put down the predecessors by saying he was stronger. He praised their efforts and accomplishments because he knew he stood on their shoulders to get where he is.

    Regardless of what you think of Kenneth and/or his chess abilities, let’s cease with the war of words because they are not useful here. He is an Olympiad predecessor and both of you are inextricably bound. Let’s rejoice in the fact that this past weekend, Nigeria set an example for the chess world and Kunle Elegbede conducted the event with class and efficiency. He spared no expense into making this a successful event and I understand he worked hard to accommodate the players.

    Looking from outside in, the entire world was proud of the Nigerian chess community and was pleased to see the event conducted in such a fashion. Unfortunately you were unable to attend this qualifier, but there will be others. At 23, you will certainly be representing Nigeria many times in the future. However, when you get to the top, remember you are standing on the shoulders of those before you. Put your personal interests aside at this time and think of Nigeria’s chess future. It is bright… make it brighter. One day someone will stand on your shoulders.

  18. Daaim,thank you for the advice,i really appreciate it,and i wanna say thanks for your good works and the publicity of the whole thing,you’ve been very helpful in promoting chess generally.I just spoke with Mr.Elegbende,who also gave me some advice,because he understands my frustration,as he really tried to enable me get to Houston,but it was too late.One thing is for sure,i’ll keep on playing in tournaments and try to do my best.Once again,thank you so much.

  19. I do not want to inflame this situaton further, but I have to say this. Chi-chi, you owe an apology to everyone that you insulted, intentionally or not, by your comments earlier. It may have been said in the heat of the moment, for whatever reason, it does not matter to the people offended. I believe it was Maya Angelou who said that people may not remember exactly what you said to them, but they will remember exactly how you made them feel.

    It is a mark of maturity for a man to accept when he is wrong, and make amends. Here is your chance …

  20. Alright Iwu,i did not mean to insult anybody,and i’m sorry to who ever might have been insulted as a result of all this,tempers were really high.

  21. Chikwere… you have done the right thing.

    To those whom comments were not approved, it was done to avoid fanning the flames further. Enough ill-will had been spread. Chikwere is passionate about chess and in time he will know how to channel his energy to move on a path of success. He have to help him, but he also has to help himself. His admission shows he’s on the right track.


    Nigeria has set the bar and have certainly created an innovative model for other federations! Kunle just informed me of this link from South Africa mentioning the qualifiers…

  22. It’s unfair to block others reply to his tantrums. The nigerian chess federation what ever affiliation shouldn’t be partial to an upcoming player that lacks maturity. We are all passionate about this game and we have our different strategies however simple that may be. Iwu can mentor his boy on the side but don’t bring him to the folds of the elders! All of the players that he insulted have one or two great achievements in the their career.

  23. GM,

    You have to realize this site has been viewed by millions of people all over the world… 200+ countries. This “flame war” does not reflect well on Nigeria regardless of who is right or who is wrong. When you sent your message (filled with insults), Chikwere had already begun to make amends for his mistakes.

    In any electronic forum, words taken be misconstrued and its easy to misunderstand one’s intent. I’m sure Kenneth did not intend to provoke Chikwere, but he did. Likewise, Chikwere provoked Kenneth. I do believe that (in time) these two should discuss this like men and not hold a grudge for years on in.

    We should be celebrating, but yet we are discussing these issues. As Kunle said at message #18, let us move on to more positive subjects. There is a lot to be proud of!

  24. chikwere start saving up for next olympia and you dont have to give Queen odds to any one! Your name no be rybyka.

  25. Dear Gentlemen,
    I am particularly pleased to be Nigerian. I must mention here that Nigerian players have really done us proud in the diaspora! Going by the level of organization and commitment witnessed in the Olympiad team-selection trials, please keep the flag flying!!! Kudos to all facilitators and friends who have made this an unprecedented success.
    Gens Una Sumus!!!

  26. Daaim Shabaz,
    It’s good that all ends well. A number of those players have national and international records b4 the boy started playing chess. Those who want him to play chess for nigeria should do good by sponsoring his education, afterall, what is chess without education. Sacking pieces recklessly and playing Queen less is not a mark of excellence. Chess is much more than that, it demands greater planning, maturity and timing. Chikewere should start saving for the next Olympiad, hopefully his game would be much better then and he would have grown in maturity with ethics.
    I will continue to support Nigerian Chess and sponsor upcoming talents, but not people without respect for other players. I appreciate the effort of everyone that came and supported that event. Special thanks to Kunle Elegbede!

  27. Actually Chikwere is quite strong already and this reflects well on Nigeria’s future. I don’t believe the point about others playing before he was born is relevant unless you’re merely saying that respect is due to those before him. He has a bright future (in the present) and that is what we have to deal with. However, he has to set a plan for his chess development. Part of this will be managing his demeanor and temperament for chess excellence.

    Following is another experiment… the Adu-Chikwere match. He did lose the match to Adu, but it was a stepping stone for him. To give an idea of some of his talent, check out this nice combination.

    NM Chikwere Onyekwere – IM Tim Taylor
    White to Move (after 25… Nc6xe5)

    Bearing down on the queenside, Chi-Chi found the devastating 26.Rxb6+! after which weaved a net with 26…cxb6 27.Nc6+! Nxc6 28.Qxb6+ Kd7 29. Qb7+ Kd6 30. Nd4 and ended with 30…Rd7 31. Qb6+.

    We all can judge others based on limited information, but let’s write this off as an exception and not the rule. We have to move on and build him up, not tear him down. He was upset, made some careless remarks and he has apologized. I hope he makes amends with Kenneth on a personal level.

    This has been a worthwhile experiment and in two years it will be even better! God willing, Chikwere will be there.

  28. We may hear from Chikwere yet again, if he is able to make one of the other two trials. I don’t agree with the manner of debate, but I can attest to the strength of both Chi-Chi and most of the players that participated in the trials State-side. I will put my money on Chi-Chi and have done it. :mrgreen:

    Much love to all the brothers. 😉

  29. Frank,

    Well… the way I look at it, the Nigerian Chess Federation was wise in choosing six players (4-1-1 from Nigeria, U.S., Europe). However, the visa issue will be a barrier. German visas are not easy.

    When I was at the FIDE General Assembly meeting in Spain during the 2004 Olympiad, developing nations in the Caribbean and Africa were complaining about the federation dues and even the Olympiad being in Europe so frequently (The last three have been in Spain, Italy and Germany).

    As you know the exchange rate in Europe makes it difficult for federations from developing nations. I recently chatted with Ethiopian player Kebadu Belachew and he states that his federation is having the same problems. He is based in Washington, DC and is filling the same function as Kunle. He has submitted team rosters, but finding the funding will be a great challenge.

    My question to the NCF is… if some of the qualifers cannot get visas, then what happens?

  30. From #34 by Daaim:

    My question to the NCF is… if some of the qualifiers cannot get visas, then what happens?

    Well, I think we talked about this earlier. The question was should we have the trial selection as 4, 2, 2 0r 3, 1 1 format which will be 8 or 5 players respectively. We ended up with 3, 1 and waiting for 1 more from Europe. The wisdom of the 4, 2, 2 is to let the alternative second players in all the regions be chosen once and for all and be the standbys should there be a visa problem. But I suppose the technical committee of the Nigerian Chess Federation led by the NCF Vice Chairman, Mr. Lekan Adeyemi who is very competent, can still address this problem quickly. The success of the trial is going to continue. Europe will begin their own selection as soon as we solve the logistical problems that they are facing. Its good news for Nigeria Chess and this is just the beginning.

  31. Aha!
    Or why not simply select all five players from ‘diaspora’ since it is feasible that all the players from Nigeria will not get visa?
    This is the problem with Nigeria. Always looking for quick fix temporary solutions instead of taking the time to solve problems in a holistic way even if that requires taking the longer, harder road.
    The Phillippine Olympiad trials was held in the Philippines. Grandmaster Paragua who is based in the US and is one of the highest ranked Filipinos failed to qualify among the top five and yet the tournament was won convincingly by an unknown IM (John Paul Gomez who is based right there in the Phillippines) ahead of several already famous GMs! If not for such a tournament, he may never have had a chance to show what he is capable of.
    If players cannot get a visa from Nigeria, then Nigeria does not send a team to the Olympiad. Period.The sky will not fall down. That way we get to see our problems in stark relief and that way we will be forced to solve them once and for all instead of taking placebos! The impression is that this whole idea is a roundabout way of making the criterion for playing for Nigeria in the Olympiad the ability to easily get a visa which of course favours those in ‘diaspora’.

  32. Aha,

    So what are you suggesting? I believe this was done so that those who could not travel to Nigeria could still participate in the selection process. Paragua traveled to the Philippines and came up empty. Although I like Paragua and once interviewed him, I was estatic that an unknown made the team. Actually the Philippines have enough strong players in the U.S. to have a qualifier, but they made their players come home.

  33. Following are some more pictures from the qualifier and the dinner after-party. I’ve been to Nigerian parties and they know how to have a great time! Some of the pictures are class portrait shots.

    The man behind it all… Adekunle Elegbede.

    The ever-dapper Nigerian, Sylvester Smarty.

    Good to see George Umezinwa back!

    Celebration and good cheer!

    Kenneth Odeh and Ola Osanyinjobi

    IM Oladapo Adu and Nike Ogunremi.
    No… that’s pronounced “nee-kay,” not “nike.”

    Looks like a nice party!

    All photos are by Ola Osanyinjobi.

  34. Appreciation:
    Even though they do not want me to mention this here, but I just have to recognize Dr Iwu and Dr Smarty for their generosity at helping to offset some of the expenses of this event. This is the kind of spirit that will take Nigeria chess to greater heights . Once again, special thanks to Drs Iwu and Smarty and the Finger licking Restaurant for the good food at the party. We appreciate every one who came and those who couldn’t make it for one reason or the other. We look forward to even bigger and better tournaments in the future.

  35. there is always a learning point from disagreements.
    i think elders should learn that “when a dog barks at you do not bark” people might not discern the difference

  36. Now for the European leg of the Nigerian Olympiad trials even though there are no financial guarantees and the NCF appears to be at sea. No doubt there would be players willing to pay their own way to Dresden (consider Easyjet/Ryanair, friends!). The prospects of prompt reimbursement of expenses are rather dim.

  37. That would mean that the European leg would have to be held very soon. It is September now and the visa process will not be easy. The fortunate thing is that Nigerians in Europe do not need visas if they are citizens and even if they are not, it should be much easier. The qualifiers in Nigeria have probably sent for their visas already. Is there an FIDE or Olympiad official that can furnish a letter to help the visa process?

  38. I heard that the European leg starts in England on tomorrow. When the clocks starts, we can celebrate this accomplishment! It will have been a successful exercise and when Nigerian Chess Federation selects a team, history will be made. I do not know where this has ever been attempted… three continents. I am saving this for “Historic Moments.”

    All eyes are on IM Odion Aikhoje as the favorite to win. Will Dr. Paul Obiamwe provide a challenge?

  39. gratitude the least of virtues and ingratitude the worst of vices i want to commend the organisers for doing something fantastic in organicing such a trial the first and a legacy to emulate.we are proud of you all.chi chi i cant wait to see you at nbl your fans have missed you

  40. Just received a report from Kunle Elegbede. He heard from Zone 1 organizer Olubunmi Adebola Dada who states that the European trials will end tonight. There are only three players competing in a double-round robin. IM Odion Aikhoje is in the lead. It is a smaller field than expected, but the positive thing is that the trials were planned and carried out!

  41. The Nigerian trials are over! Congratulations Nigeria for a novel experiment!! The following announcement was made by Kunle Elegbede, International Coordinator and organizer of Zone 2 Qualifier.

    Dear chess players,

    The European trials finally took place from September 9 – 11, 2008. International chess master, and a gold medal winner for Nigeria at the 1998 Chess Olympiad, Odion Aikhoje won that event (details to come later). We now have a complete list of the team to the Dresden Olympiad. We do not have the pictures of two of the female players from Nigeria – Folasayo Togun and Obasi Uwa, and we would appreciate it if someone can send their pictures to us.

    Conducting the trials has been a remarkable experience for everyone involved and we have to build on the success of this experiment. Other than a few incidences here and there, Nigeria should be proud of their Olympiad qualifiers and the process that was put in place (at the last minute of course) to achieve this result. However, in the future, we do have to organize a bigger and better chess tournament in Nigeria where Nigeria chess players from everywhere would be invited, (with at least a years notice given to the chess players, with proper planing and all guarantees met in advance), to fight for a chance to represent their country. Planing for such an event should begin immediately after the 2008 Chess Olympiad.

    Special thanks to all the chess players and the chess officials who sacrificed their time and money towards the success of this event. Because of your sacrifice, the future of Nigeria chess is brighter today. More bigger chess initiatives are definitely on the horizon and Nigeria chess players have every reason to proud of their achievements.

    Best regards,

    Kunle Elegbede


  42. thanks kunle 4 giving us the final results in the olympiad trails, will are grateful for your organization in nigeria and port harcourt, we are saying thank you and God bless.

  43. Here are pictures from the qualifier in Europe. It was held in England in what appears to be… a pub. What else?

    Ini Umoh, Olubunmi Dada (arbiter), IM Odion Aikhoje

    Paul Obiamiwe, Olubunmi Dada (arbiter), IM Odion Aikhoje

    Obiamiwe, Paul – Umoh, Ini
    EURO Trials (London), 09.09.2008

    1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.f3 Kh8 13.Bb2 Nh5 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.dxe6 f4 16.c5 a5 17.a3 Nc6 18.Nd5 Re8 19.Bc4 dxc5 20.bxc5 Rc8 21.Qa4 Nf6 22.Rad1 Nxd5 23.exd5 Nd4 24.Bxd4 exd4 25.Qxa5 b6 26.Qb5 bxc5 27.Qxc5 Qd6 28.Qxd6 cxd6 29.Bb5 Re7 30.Bc6 Be5 31.a4 Kg7 32.Rb1 Kf6 33.Kf1 Rxe6 34.Bd7 Ree8 35.Bxc8 Rxc8 36.Rec1 Ra8 37.Rc4 Ra5 38.Rb5 Ra7 39.Ke2 Kf5 40.Kd3 1–0

    Umoh,Ini – Obiamiwe,Paul
    EURO Trials(London), 09.09.2008

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 Na6 7.0–0 e5 8.d5 Nc5 9.Qc2 a5 10.Ne1 Qe7 11.f3 Nh5 12.Na4 b6 13.Nxc5 bxc5 14.Nd3 Bd7 15.g4 Nf6 16.Kg2 Ne8 17.Be3 f5 18.h3 c6 19.Qc1 cxd5 20.cxd5 f4 21.Bd2 Nc7 22.Qe1 Nb5 23.a4 Nd4 24.Bd1 Qd8 25.Rh1 Qb6 26.Bc3 Bf6 27.h4 Bd8 28.g5 Bc8 29.Qg1 Ba6 30.Nf2 Bc8 31.Kh2 Qc7 32.Ng4 Bxg4 33.Qxg4 Qc8 34.Qg2 Qd7 35.Qh3 Qxh3+ 36.Kxh3 Rb8 37.Kg4 1–0

    Aikhoje,Odion – Umoh,Ini
    EURO Trials (London ), 10.09.2008

    1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Bc4 c5 7.c3 b6 8.Qe2 Nbd7 9.0–0 Bb7 10.a4 a6 11.Nbd2 d5 12.Bd3 c4 13.Bc2 b5 14.Rfb1 Re8 15.b3 Bc6 16.bxc4 bxc4 17.a5 h6 18.Ba4 Bxa4 19.Rxa4 Nh5 20.Bh2 e5 21.Qd1 exd4 22.exd4 f5 23.Rb7 f4 24.Rab4 Kh7 25.Qa4 Ndf6 26.Ne5 Ne4 27.Nxe4 dxe4 28.Qd7 Rxe5 29.dxe5 Qxa5 30.Bxf4 Rd8 31.Qg4 Nxf4 32.Rxg7+ Kxg7 33.Rb7+ Kg8 34.Qxf4 Qd5 35.Qf6 Qxb7 36.Qxd8+ Kf7 37.Qf6+ Ke8 38.Qxg6+ Kd8 39.Qg8+ Kc7 40.Qf7+ Kc8 41.e6 Qd5 42.Qf8+ Kc7 43.Qg7+ Kb6 44.e7 Qe6 45.Qf8 1–0

    Umoh,Ini – Aikhoje,Odion
    EURO Trials (London ), 10.09.2008

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 Bxa6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.g3 g6 9.e4 Qa5 10.Bxa6 Qxa6 11.Qe2 Ng4 12.Qxa6 Rxa6 13.Nb5 Rb6 14.a4 Nde5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.f4 Nd3+ 17.Ke2 Nb4 18.b3 Bg7 19.Rb1 Kd7 20.Bd2 Na6 21.Ba5 Rb7 22.Rhc1 Ra8 23.h4 f5 24.exf5 gxf5 25.Rc4 Bf6 26.Kf3 h5 27.Re1 Rg8 28.Re6 Rg6 29.Bc3 Nc7 30.Nxc7 Rxc7 31.Bxf6 Rxf6 32.Rxf6 exf6 33.Ke2 Rb7 34.Rc3 Rb4 35.Kd2 Kc7 36.Kc2 Re4 37.Kb2 Rd4 38.Ka3 Rxd5 39.b4 Kb6 40.bxc5+ dxc5 ½–½

    Aikhoje,Odion – Obiamiwe,Paul
    EURO Trials(London), 11.09.2008

    1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.e4 d5 7.e5 Ne4 8.Qe2 Nxd2 9.Qxd2 c5 10.dxc5 Nc6 11.0–0–0 Be6 12.Bh6 Qc7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Qc3 Rfc8 15.Be2 a5 16.a3 b6 17.cxb6 Qxb6 18.Nd4 Nb4 19.Qe3 Na2+ 20.Kb1 Nc3+ 21.Ka1 Na4 22.Bb5 Rab8 23.Rb1 Nc5 24.g4 Kg8 25.f4 Bd7 26.Bxd7 Nxd7 27.f5 Nc5 28.Rhd1 Ne4 29.Rd3 a4 30.e6 Qd6 31.Qh6 Rc3 32.exf7+ Kxf7 33.Qxh7+ Ke8 34.Qg8+ Kd7 35.Qe6+ 1–0

    Obiamiwe,Paul – Aikhoje,Odion
    EURO Trials(London), 11.09.2008

    1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Qc2 Be7 7.Bg5 0–0 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 Re8 10.0–0 Nf8 11.Rab1 Nh5 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.b4 Nf6 14.b5 c5 15.dxc5 Qxc5 16.Rfc1 Bg4 17.Nd4 Rac8 18.Qb2 Qd6 19.h3 Bd7 20.a4 b6 21.Na2 Ne6 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.Nb4 e5 24.Nc6 a5 25.Rd1 g6 26.Bc4 Kf8 27.Bxd5 Nxd5 28.e4 Bxc6 29.bxc6 Rxc6 30.Rxd5 Qc7 31.Rbd1 Re7 32.Rd8+ Kg7 33.Qb3 Rc1 34.Rg8+ Kf6 35.Qf3+ Ke6 36.Rgd8 Rxd1+ 37.Rxd1 Rf7 38.Qg4+ Kf6 39.Rd5 Kg7 ½–½

    Clickable games coming!

  44. there are a lot of talented chess players who missed this trials and hopefully if this idea continues, there will be more than ten players competing for the 2010 spot. perhaps if the trials is held in a city like LA or NYC we could have 50 players!

  45. Plaese,
    what has been happening to chess in Nigeria………i need to get across to as many Nigerian chess players as possible particularly those i have played or met in competitions like Chikwere”s email, Fawole john, and any Nigerian chess player out there that wants a chess revival in Nigeria………i think it is time to penetrate the inner chess shrine……we need to rekindle the flame on our boards.pass on information to our selves by maintaining contacts. kudus mr Daiim i love this site!! WE STILL AWAIT THE AFRICAN GM- CHESSGURU

  46. Dear friends,
    I was really delighted to watch you friends do Nigeria proud it great to observe that you our chess ambassadors and professionals are keeping the flag flying.
    This has clearly shown that nigerian chess has a great future.
    May I seize this opportunity to congratulate the qualifiers for the olympiad, the organisers ,and all participants.
    Together we shall move Nigerian chess to the next level, that is
    really befitting of GIANT OF AFRICA
    Dr Owen Maduka

  47. Dear Chessplayers.

    We should call on the present chairman of the Nigeria Chess Federation to resign. He has held the fort for a few years now and I am sure he has put in his best effort. I sincerely believe he is not the best equipped Nigerian for the job. Chess has stagnated in Nigeria.

    A few things of concern to me and other chess players include: Non payment of our Fide dues, No notable chess achievements for chess under his tenure, Very few chess tournaments.

    Our Chairman Police chief Sanni I believe is his name does not inspire or motivate us as chess players and does not bring any improvement to chess in Nigeria. Hence my request he resigns.

    I am not here to cast stones and I understand we operate in a very difficult national environment Nigeria. But we had better times under Mr.Omuku.

    Under Mr. Omuku we had a National sports festival,University games, Secondary school games, African junior chess champoinships, African chess tournaments, a national chess leaque, Many chess toournaments rganised by the oil companies, NEPA etc. We got new International arbiters and had many great participants in the chess process including Admiral Ayinla. We need our freinds back and we need a leadership that can make it happen. We want CHANGE and CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

    We just had an Olympiad chess trial here in USA that I understand should have being rated. But the state of our federation is such we could not pay the minor fees to make this rating take place. We therefore lost the chance to increase the number of rated chess players from Nigeria.

    My personal suggestion for Chairman is Mr. Emmanuel Omuku. He brings great fund raising ability and a wealth of expereince. A former executive director of the world Chess federation he is respected and known all over the world and would make a huge difference to chess in Nigeria. His were the golden years of chess and we want some more.

    I know Mr. omuku may not want to serve and is not even aware I am writing this letter. But we do have alternatives Like Navy Captain Andrew Onoja Odeh a chess master presently attending war college in preperation to assuming the rank of a general.

    Mr Chairman I kindly and respectfully suggest you consider handing over your position in the interest of chess. We thank you for your service to our country as a police officer and we are happy you have worked to the best of your ability to lead the chess federation despite your very limited knowledge of the game.

    Kenneth Odeh
    Nigeria citizen

  48. Another fiasco is developing with Nigeria’s Olympiad participation, eerily similar to the last one, and the one before that. Less than 2 weeks to the first game, players’ visas and travel arrangements remain a mystery known only to a few NCF officials. Or perhaps not even they know? How can we turn out a good team when the preparation is limited to individual player efforts and no one knows, even this late, if the players will actually make it to Dresden. And the silence from the authorities is as deafening as their arrangements are opaque. I despair.
    I think the problem of chess organization in Nigeria goes far beyond the person of the chairman. The NCF is a parastatal that is bureaucratic and inefficient, and even a dynamic executive (would that were more than just a dream!) with clear strategic vision will soon be mired in the bottlenecks of Nigerian officialdom. I think we have to think well beyond the NCF to make a positive change in our game.

  49. please i am writing from austria.i lost contact with a great friend,master and mentor,the ex-chiarman of the nigeria chess federation mr emmanuel omuku. can you be of help by linking us.

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