UIMSAite Emerges as Champion of UI Chess Super Tournament

On Saturday, the 4th of November, 2023, the UI Chess Ladder Games Classical Invitational drew to a close after seven rounds of competition across two weekends. The tournament was hosted at the Blazing Kings Games Club, Ibadan, organised by Emeka Madueke, a coach and former captain of the UI Chess Club and Olabode Sofoluwe, the Vice-Chairman of the Oyo State Chess Association. Iredele Ogunbayo, the president of the Oyo State Chess Association was also in attendance.

Promotional Graphic: New Contenders on the left in order of finish in preliminary tournament; players with NUGA experience on the right

Twelve UI students were billed to compete: six from the previous UI Chess NUGA team and the other six selected through a preliminary tournament won by Okojie Simeon of the 2k24 class. In the lead-up to the tournament, however, two players (Oyelami Emmanuel and Oguntona Abraham, a UIMSAite) pulled out for undisclosed reasons. They were replaced by Azeez Faizol, a Mathematics masters student and Sambo Joseph, a 15-year-old prodigy popular in the National circuit. Sambo Joseph was the only non-UI player to eventually compete.

The tournament proper was fiercely competitive with many noteworthy battles, but eventually, it was Akporherhe Blessing of the 2k25 class who triumphed. Fresh off his second-place finish in the National Chess Championship Opens held last month, he came into this event in good form and managed to establish himself at the top board. His 5.5/7 score to win only served to reflect the competitiveness of the event. Okojie Simeon had started strongly but fell away in the latter stage of the tournament consigning him to a 3/7 score. Other notable performers were Oziegbe Promise, captain of the UI Chess Club (5/7), Sambo Joseph (4.5/7) and Akinyemi David, a final-year Physiology student (4.5/7).

Final Standings of the UI Chess Ladder Games Classical Invitational

Tournaments such as these are part of several new initiatives designed to propel the UI team to the forefront of University Chess in Nigeria, and in speeches after, participants commended the organisers for a job well done, clearly satisfied with the experience gained so far. In the words of Olabode Sofoluwe, vice-chairman of the Oyo State Chess Association, ‘It merely served to highlight the strength of the Oyo State Chess Program, second only to Lagos in the country.’

Participants in the UI Chess Ladder Games Invitational Pose With Relevant Stakeholders

Okojie Osakwe Simeon


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