No Gree For Anybody: Blessing Akporherhe Goes Unbeaten To Defend UI Crown

The second edition of the UI Chess Classical Invitational wound down on Saturday, the 13th of January, 2024, after four days of gruelling action. The seven-round tournament was hosted at the Blazing Kings Games Club, Ibadan, the same venue as the last edition. The main organiser was Dr Ariyo, coach of the UI Chess Team, and the chief sponsor was Pharm Orimoloye Moyosore. The event was duly supervised by Emeka Madueke and Olabode Sofoluwe, Coordinator of UI Chess Team and Director of BKGC respectively.

L-R: Madueke Emeka, Coordinator of UI Chess Team, Akporherhe Blessing, Winner, Iredele Ogunbayo, Chairman of the Oyo State Chess Association, Arowolo Animashaun, first runner-up, Oziegbe Promise, second runner-up

Eighteen players, including UI students, alumni, and other strong players within the Oyo State chess scene, were billed to compete in what would have been the strongest edition of the UI Classical Invitational yet. However, six players had to pull out due to scheduling concerns. Ten UI students threw their names into the hat in the final listings. In addition to these were the prodigy, Sambo Joseph, Oyo U-15 Champion, and the experienced Arowolo Animashaun, a National Sports Festival medalist. UIMSAites in attendance were Akporherhe Blessing, Oguntona Abraham and Okojie Simeon.

The tournament got off to a hot start with Akporherhe, Arowolo, and Oziegbe Promise, captain of the UI Chess Team racing to the lead after two rounds played, and it would ultimately be these three who would hold on to the podium places by the end of the tournament. In his own words, Akporherhe ‘wasn’t at a disadvantage in any game’. Oguntona Abraham would briefly enter the top three by the end of round five after leveraging his experience to dismantle Sambo Joseph, but a tough loss against his comrade, Akporherhe saw him drop from the chasing pack. The other UIMSAite in attendance, Okojie Simeon struggled to make his mark but did manage to break even by the end of the tournament after salvaging a lost rook endgame to steal a draw versus Favour Markson in the final round. Ogbonna Henry’s was also a notable performance as the man who finished bottom of the last invitational with 1/7 came back to score 4/7 in this edition. His time management during games was noticeably better, an opinion shared by several participants.

Final Standings of the UI Chess Classical Invitational

Iredele Ogunbayo, Chairman of the Oyo State Chess Association on giving the closing remarks on January the 13th, commended the players and implored them to keep on working hard and to also not neglect their academics in doing so. UI Chess Team Coordinator, Madueke Emeka also stressed greater integration of the male and female teams and a need for healthy rivalries. Arowolo Animashaun was happy with the level of the players and analysed some of his games played against UI students, emphasising areas where improvements could be made.

Cross-section of participants, members of the female team and relevant stakeholders

Okojie Osakwe Simeon


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