The Nigerian Experiment

Nigeria Olympiad Qualifiers

The Nigerian Chess Federation came up with a novel idea to choose an Olympiad team for the upcoming tournament in Dresden. The idea was to involve the entire Nigerian Diaspora in the process by having transcontinental trials (Nigeria, U.S., Europe).

Is this experiment going to pay dividends for Nigeria or is there a way to refine this model given Nigeria’s unique situation. Also note that other nations like India and China have large chess Diasporas. It would be interesting to see if this is something these nations would entertain. As it stands now, most federations have their players travel home to play in the Nationals, but in the day and age of technology anything is possible.

Read more about the “Nigerian Experiment” at the The Chess Drum with a full report and photos at Nigerian Chess Players Forum.


  1. Sunny,

    There are no events listed on the FIDE calendar for Africa. That is a shame for such a large region. Not one single reported event. I remember the horror I felt in Calvia Olympiad when FIDE forgot the seats for African nations in the Assembly. When I walked in, Nizar Elhajj was irate and protested. He said, “They have no chairs for Africa!!” They set chairs in the back for African federations. It was a disgrace, but if Africa is not more active, such treatment will continue. FIDE has had two African executives (Emmanuel Omoku and Lewis Ncube), but conditions have not improved… in fact, activity seem to have faded and very little is written on African chess these days. I get few reports from Africa. What is going on?

  2. The Nigerian Experiment has been a success! The Nigerian Diaspora has pulled off an admirable task of holding three qualifiers in three different continents to select the 2008 Olympiad team. One may ask if the players represent the strongest Nigerian players. Perhaps not, but the process was fair and everyone had an equal chance to participate. This process has had its great challenges and we can all appreciate. The teams are as follows (in no particular board order):


    IM Odion Aikhoje (Zone 1, Europe)
    IM Oladapo Adu (Zone 2, US)
    Adebayo Adegboyega (Zone 3, Nigeria)
    Charles Campbell (Zone 3, Nigeria)
    Bomo Kighigha (Zone 3, Nigeria)


    Nike Ogunremi (from Zone 1 and 2)
    Racheal Edward-Dappa (Zone 3, Nigeria)
    Tolu Jeje (Zone 3, Nigeria)
    Folasayo Togun (Zone 3, Nigeria)
    Obasi O. Uwa (Zone 3, Nigeria)

  3. This process is a great strike for proper use of technology as a tool to build bridges, and to unify like-minded people for good causes. Many thanks to those who helped facilitate this series of events. Thanks also to you, Bro. Shabazz, for relating the story to us. For where else would I have read about something as generative as this process?

  4. Femi Solaja, “Nigeria: Country Masters Set for Chess Olympiad,” This Day (Lagos), 14 October 2008.

    After weeks of trials held at three centres, the Nigerian Chess Federation (NCF) has concluded plans to have a good outing at the forthcoming World Chess Olympiad next month in Dresden, Germany.

    According to the President of Chess federation, DSP Sani Mohammed, all the players invited for participation are in good frame of mind to compete favourable with the best prodigies at the tournament.

    “We have good and experienced players in camp and I am very optimistic that they will better Nigeria’s performance of two years ago in Turin, Italy considering the fact that we had a long time trial before the competition and all players outside the country were allowed to prove their worth,” he pointed out.

    The five male players that will represent the country are International Masters Odion Aikhoje and Dapo Adu, who both made their qualifications from the trials held in London and USA, and will be joined by Adebayo Adegboyega, Charles Campbell and Bomo Kigigha.

    The female representatives are veteran, Racheal Edward-Dappa, Shayo Togun, Tolu Jeje, Merit Uwa and Nike Williams, who is the only prodigy that will join the rest from Canada.

    The team according to NCF will resume camping early next month for final preparations for the world tournament. Nigeria at the last edition in Turin Italy won continental bronze medal in the female category and looks set to better the performance should all the players selected eventually make the trip unlike the last edition where only the three available players played all the 14 rounds because two of the players were denied visas.

    In the male category led by London-based Aikhoje, the team will rely more on individual performance on five boards and the individual board order allocated to the players based on their strength will be a determinant factor.

    About 140 countries will participate at the competition which will run from 13th-25th of next month.

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