Nigerian Player of the Month: FM Osunfuyi Abimbola

FM Abimbola Osunfuyi Ayotomiwa, also known as Young GM or Mozart_OATS. Mozart_OATS came from his love for Symphonies of Mozart Wolfgang Amadus, while the OATS is an acronym of Osunfuyi Abimbola Tigran Spinoza.WhatsApp Image 2018-02-20 at 05.23.19

Born on the 3rd of February, 1994 in Ikeja, Lagos State of Nigeria, but hails from Ogun State in Nigeria, to be precise. Abimbola spent his childhood and most of his youth years in Lagos,  attending Victory Home School, Ojota for his primary education, St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka for his Secondary School education, and then proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka in Nigeria, where he graduated with a B.Sc. in Actuary Science.

His present occupation is as a chess instructor!

Quoting one of his write-ups, when asked about balancing career and educational goals, he said “One of the toughest issues in making a good career choice and career goal-setting is identifying what it is that you want. Even when it seems that you know what you want, you may still have doubts. Reaching clarity in those issues may be the most important thing you can do in your career planning and goal setting”.
His present Job is as a Chess Instructor at French School, Victoria Island Lagos. (I bet his Actuarial Science Certificate would be put to use one of these years)

His first contact with chess was in September 2004, during his secondary school days at St. Finbarr’s computer room, the circumstance (chess is one of the best things that came to me in life, unexpected and unplanned by me)

For those still doubting the fact that chess does improve your overall psyche, here is what FM Abimbola has to say about himself and what chess did for him.

Anyone looking at my life today would definitely say I was lucky, I’m confident, and happy; I have an amazing career, I have so many chess tournaments laurels, great friends and wonderful family members. But it hasn’t always been this way. I have faced my own personal catastrophes and there have been times when I thought I had never achieved any of these things. At age 17 my mind was full of outdated concepts, unchecked feelings, unconfronted fears and unrealistic ideas of who I was. I was the plain boy who walked alone and didn’t have many friends with whom i could discuss freely, talkless of play with. Conceivably, I was not cool and my favourite hangout spot was in my room.

At age 18, I was introverted and had a low self esteem. Self esteem, which is the disposition to experience oneself, as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness, and not the euphoria, buoyancy or love affair, neither is it an illusion or hallucination. The level of my self esteem had profound consequences on every aspect of my existence – how I function in public, in school, how I deal/relate with people, and how much I was likely to achieve as a chess player. One is free of self esteem problems only when one transcends the ego. Paradoxically, we need to develop a healthy ego before we transcends it.

At 19, I transcended my ego which in effect activated my sense of purpose. I was able to decide exactly what I wanted, I evaluated the price I had to pay to get what I want and then resolved to pay the price by establishing my priorities and getting to work. The greatest after effect was that I exhibited prowess in chess, in abstract thinking, intense concentration, problem solving, mental strategy  and at the same time, prove to myself & my world that I am a capable individual who can be successful in an experience which requires me to use my mind. There is a certain intellectual aura about chess. The game of chess is generally considered to be cerebral in tone, and has been viewed as a game for scholars and geniuses. Most people think of chess as being extremely difficult to learn, to grasp and to play. Grasping a sophisticated game such as chess, which initially appears to be extremely difficult, if not impossible to learn creates a positive attitude, increased confidence and a heightened sense of control. After an individual has shown capability of understanding the nuances, the strategies and the vocabulary of chess, his/her ego transcends. Ones mission in life is encoded in the soul. Each human being  is born with the DNA of one’s mission already present, providing the soul with its fundamental frequency. This is why the mission is fundamentally constant. The words used to describe ones mission may evolve, because words are at best rough approximations of ideas, but the energy of the mission remains constant.  – Akinovblogspot.com

It is quite interesting to note that no one taught him how to play. When asked who taught him how to play chess, he responded, “Self Taught (Mostly observational learning)”.

His biggest inspiration is HIMSELF. Quoting him verbatim,

The different phases of my life have inspired me. Each and every incident have transformed me into a new person and stronger person than before, and I started believing in everything that happens, could only be for good. Never be disappointed, just keep on trying because you always learn something new from bad things” as said by my mother.WhatsApp Image 2018-02-20 at 05.23.22

His tournament achievements are enormous and listed below:

  1. Femi Badejo cup for under-10 National Chess Tournament; 2004 – 1st Position
  2. 1st  Lagos Preparatory School Chess Championship; November 20th 2004, – 1st Position
  3. V Mobile Ultimate Chess Challenge; September 17th 2005 – 2nd Position
  4. Femi Badejo Cup for Under-14 National Chess Championship, November 11th 2005 – 4th Position
  5. Ultimate Junior Chess Tournaments Under 16; May 26, 2006 – 1st Position
  6. Femi Badejo Cup for Under – 14 National Chess Tournament; 5th October  2007, – 2nd Position
  7. 36th Nigerian Breweries International Chess Open Championship (category 2 ) – Ist Position/National Amateur Champion
  8. C4 CPAN Chevron Chess Challenge (Masters); May 25th 2014 – Joint 1st Position
  9. Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championships – Open (Lome) 2015 – Title – FIDE Master
  10.  COTE D’IVOIRE INVITATIONAL OPEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT 1; May 26, 2015 – Joint 1st Position
  11. POSITIVE MINDS CHESS TOURNAMENT (ABUJA) June 24, 2015 . 3rd Position
  12. 1st Pro-Chess Championship; July 2015 – 1st position
  13. 1st Northern States Unity Open Chess Championships; August 2015, – 2nd position
  14. Maxton Blitz Chess Tournament; June 2016 – 1st Position
  15. Chess Heights Rapids; January 20171st position
  16. 1st Flaming Knights Rapids; August 2017 –  Joint 1st Position
  17. Chess Heights Rapids; October 2017 – 1st Position
  18. 1st Mind Games Chess Classics; November 2017 – 3rd Position
  19. Flaming Knights Classics Chess Championship; November 2017– Joint  2nd Position
  20. Chess Heights Rapids Grand Slam; December 2017 – 1st Position
  21. 1st house of DAVID Rapids Chess Tournament – January  2018 – 1st PositionDSC_0115

His worst tournament ever was at the Friends of Chess Rapids in 2008 where he was the only teenager playing against the top shots in the country. He ended with a perfect 0/6. The tournament organizer in person of Mr. Dasaolu Rotimi aka Dashe, gave him a Prize for the best loser. That was the last time he had a tournament that bad.

FM Abimbola Osunfuyi is determined to be an Actuary Scientist and believes he is smart enough to be successful in this career. In other news, his career as a chess player is to be a young chess Grandmaster that will positively impact as many children’s lives as possible.  Through the game of chess, imparting life skills, character qualities, and the importance of a set of core values for students can be achieved.

His favorite opening is the Sicilian defense. He said “I love it so much because most opponents underestimate my abilities and as a result, they wind up getting smashed.” – OATS 2018.DSC_0093

His best game was against  IM Ezat Mohammed of Egypt at the Lagos Chess Classics 2015, where he played with the black pieces, had a winning position, refused draw offers, and then he lost, and with it, the opportunity for joint 1st position at the tournament.

He seems unsure of any favourite Nigerian Chess player but likes FM Kigigha Bomo and Ajibola Olanrewaju’s games, when he remembers going over them. It is also worthy of note that Ajibola Olanrewaju himself mentioned it to yours truly (Oyeleye Olawale) sometime last year, that he loves FM Osunfuyi’s style of play. At the moment, IM Balogun Oluwafemi’s games and his meteoric rise to tournament conquests are under FM Osunfuyi’s microscopic scrutiny.

His advisory nugget for aspiring champions is:

“Being passionate about what you do is important, so it’s imperative you do what you love and love what you do. I firmly believe that anyone who aspires to be a champion must develop a habit of paying attention to details, setting of goals, aiming at targets and taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere, because I am an avid note-taker and a chess theoretician. This has helped me to focus on what I need to get done and encourages me to be productive – and discourages me from procrastinating!”

Cheers!

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