Oluwafemi Balogun, an international chess Master today, Saturday November 12, 2022, at the Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin emerged as overall winner in the first ever Kwara State Ultimate Chess Challenge, while Onoja Iyefu Joy won the Open category to share the prize money with others.
The tournament, which was endorsed by World Chess Federation, FIDE (Ferderation Internationale des Echess) started on Thursday 9th of November and attracted 44 players across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
At the final event, the Founder and Proprietor of Ilorin Chess Academy, Professor Clement Bewaji commended all participants for their resilience and creativity throughout the competition. He urged them to use the window as an avenue to sharpen their skills and brace for challenges ahead.
Professor Bewaji, an Emeritus Scholar in Bio-Chemistry started Chess in 1975 in Lagos, and his passion bloossomed over the years, as he retired to established Ilorin Chess Academy.
The Vice President of Nigeria Chess Federation, Mr Yinka Adewole, in his own address eulogised the players for playing to the rules, even as he adviced them to play more and achieve exceptional result in national and international tournaments, expecially now that chess has become a household name, not only in Nigeria but across the globe.
Highlight of the event includes the formal induction of Queen Elizabeth School student as a registered club by the Chess Federation of Nigeria, and presenteation of chess board equipment by Professor Raymond Ogunade, a member of Nigeria Chess Federation to encourage and motivate the students
In her response, the Principal of Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin, Hajia Sidikat Taiye Lawal thanked the organisers, Ilorin Chess Academy and Nigeria Chess Federation for deeming it fit to induct and donate expensive equipment to Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin.
Cash prizes running into millions were distributed to the winners at the just concluded tournament aimed at discovering more talented chess players that will represent the country at the Chess Olympaid and other major competitions.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony include Dr Bode Durotoye, the Chief Arbiter of Nigeria Chess Federation, Publisher of Sportspro News, Bayour issah, National Captain Nigeria Ambutee Football Federation and North Central Zonal Representative, Sarafadeen Olalekan Oyeleke, Vice Principal Queen Elizabeth School Hajia S. J. Jimoh and veterans chess players.