South-South National Chess Tournament - Who Could Have Guessed?


Hello everyone,

The Nigerian Chess Federation has stepped up in recent years with its major aim of taking chess to greater heights in the country. We can see great improvements with the number of Chess tournaments being held across the country - Who could have guessed?

Who could have guessed that Chess Would be played around the Geopolitical zones in Nigeria? Northwest was a beautiful opener, South-west left a lot of praises in the mouth of chess players. While we await more tournaments from the remaining zones, I bring you a recap of the Just Concluded South-south Tournament held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.

The Maiden Edition of the south-south National tournament was held at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom, Nigeria. It was a much-anticipated tournament for several reasons with the obvious one being the invitation of Grandmaster Hesham Abdelrahman From Egypt. The 2016 African Champion was invited by the Tournament Director AGM, FM(elect), Austin Apemiye.

The Organizing team headed by Austin Apemiye organized this unforgettable event with a lot of tenacity and top-notch planning. The warm welcoming setting of the city of Uyo ushered all players, Spectators, and enthusiasts to the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

The stadium serves as a home to the Nigerian Super Eagles as well as a center for various social, cultural, and religious events. Two halls were used for the events as there were over 150 registered players. The relaxed Ambience of the halls brought delights to arriving players.

The tournament was scheduled for July 1st to July 5th.

The first day featured a beautiful opening ceremony alongside a simultaneous exhibition by the Egyptian Grandmaster against a 10-player field that had a lot of promising young talents.

It was not going to be a perfect day for the Grandmaster as he missed a winning tactic against Keyi lucky Musa and had to settle for a draw. The Exhibition Drama didn't end there as the current Danhypro Junior champion, Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus held his nerves to inflict a loss to the Grandmaster. The Exhibition ended with the Egyptian GM taking 8.5 points.


The first round commenced as scheduled, a few hours after the opening ceremony. With the Tournament featuring a Grandmaster, International Masters, candidate Masters, and many strong players, it was set to be an interesting one.

It was an open 9 rounds tournament with separated category prizes. A Star prize of $1000 got the attention of many. With other mouth-watering prizes, the stage was set and it was time for the players to battle.

It was a swiss-pairing system with an accelerated format designed in a way that we saw rated players match up in the opening rounds.

All the top board results were playing according to plan as the higher-rated players were having their way till something strange happened on Board 5. Newly crowned 19-year-old International master Okeke Isaac sacrificed a Knight on b5 in a weird-looking setup against the Sicilian defense. His opponent was Suleiman Azumi Ayisha(1833), a 20-year-old junior set to represent Nigeria in the upcoming Olympiad in India.

She picked the sacrificed material and held the fort to pick up the full point and cause the first upset in the tournament. Samson Ofubu(1815) Aka Slater played strongly to beat Etukakpan Leonard(2143) in another surprising result. The biggest surprise of the round came towards the end when Iguchi Elora Oise(1562) beat Nesimeye Okuma Ejomafuvwe (2098).

July 2nd marks an unforgettable day in the history of Chess in Nigeria. In round 3, 20-year-old, Emmanuel Idara(2079) beat the Egyptian Grandmaster on Board 1!

It was one for the history books, A beautiful Kings-Indian mixed with Daring sacrifices ended in a sweet checkmate for the 20-year-old.

The loss by the highest-rated player blew the top spot open very early and after 9 rounds, Tolu Okemakinde was able to win the tournament with 8/9 going undefeated.

With Hosting a Grandmaster, Witnessing History, and even the organization of the tournament, you will agree with me that the Nigerian chess federation is on the way to the top! Who could have Guessed?

I wrote this report above for bruvchess media. It's yet to be edited and uploaded to their official website.

All Images belongs to me

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I am @samostically,I love to talk and write about chess because i benefited alot from playing chess. sometimes i share my thoughts on life in general and i write about my love for hive!
I love to engage with others and i love communication.I believe life is all about staying happy and maintaining peace.


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Thanks For Reading!



This is so awesome. The Nigerian Chess Federation is rising. And to see our brilliant young chaps come to the light is so wonderful.

It must have been a crazily hit seat for Emmanuel Idara to have faced with the GM, Hesham Abdelrahman, let alone beating him. There is no way a GM would want to lose to 2079 rating.

I am just hearing of this GM, but I can outrightly say that to become is not child's play. Heck, we don't even have a GM in Nigeria yet.

Man, this is so lovely. That took travelled all the way to experience this wonderful event. I am a very big fan of chess, and I am even a chess player myself, but I have never dabbled into physical tournaments, let alone travel for it. My passion no reach dere.

Glad to have you back with this very nice post. However, did you not play as well?