Article written by Mario Kpan
The Open ECHECS ET PAQUES thematic tournament, held on Monday, 2nd of April, 2018 at banks of the Ebrie Lagoon in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on the theme “L’ESPAGNIOLE: 1. e4 e5 2. Cf3 Cf6 3. Bb5 … “
And it was the prestigious Lycée Classique of Abidjan that served as the framework and host for this important event.
Twenty six (26) players participated in this prestigious event, which included Omosebi Aebowale and Andy Chukwuyem from Nigeria, with twenty four (24) other Ivorians who vied for the privilege of raising the famous “EGG OF THE MAT” (tournament symbol) and win the trophies at stake in each category (senior and junior).
The tournament started with everyone expecting Ivory Coast’s highest rated player Simplice Degondo to lift the egg, having been the most experienced in the field and the most decorated Ivorian chess player in recent times. Everyone was surprised to see a relatively unknown Nigerian in Omosebi Adebowale at joint lead after each round, and by round four (4), when they met it was going to be a decider as to who would lift the egg at the end of the tournament, as they both had played brilliantly until that point.
With Degondo playing from the white side of the board, he started out with the Queen’s Gambit opening and Omosebi duly declined and seemingly dislodged the reverse Trompowski variation against the Ivorian. The battle went on and it was the Nigerian that would come up victorious at the end, and continued winning without looking back, until he reached the finish line and finished the tournament with a whooping perfect score of seven (7) points of the possible seven (7) in the tournament, to claim sole right to the Easter Egg, but chose to share…..With the junior champion!
Even though the Nigerian won, the real story for the Ivorians was the twelve (12) year old Gooré Morane, who dislodged older players and ended the tournament with four and a half (4.5) points out of the possible seven (7) points to claim the junior category prize!
His performance at the event showed everyone at the tournament (and now, Africa know it too) that there is a prodigy in Ivory Coast, brought up by Jean-Michel Monney, that needs to be pruned and developed to the point of representing his country at continental and global events.
The Nigerian comeback star Omosebi Adebowale also known as “Skydeborov” on lichess won the senior category trophy and Ivorian youngster Gooré Morane won the junior category trophy to celebrate the Easter season.
According to the Nigerian song “after the reggae, play the blues”, the tournament turned party after the winner emerged and it was only fitting to celebrate the Easter with chess players, having so much fun.
See you at the next edition!