The intense nature of the first five (5) rounds of the Fide Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championship, was met with an all-important rest day, which players and administrators were able to make the best use of. Some went to the movies, while others were at the shopping mall, some learnt how to swim, while a few others showed their prowess in the hotel’s pool, some had meetings with prospective partners, while others just slept. But one thing was definite, virtually everyone made the best use of the day, the way they saw fit and also prepared for the game on Thursday, which I will now dive into.
It was a day to remember for the Ghana Chess Federation, as they became the first country, since the inception of the zone, to stream the zonal event live to thousands of chess players across the continent and beyond, as they were able to successfully stream the first board of the Opens section LIVE for all to see and follow. Maybe the top board of the female section should have been given the nod for streaming instead of that of the opens section, as the ladies put up a bigger fight against each other and showed grit in an endgame that a lot of guys would have been able to learn from.The round 6 started like a house on fire, as the higher rated guys took the lower rated ones to the cleaners, but then, not without the scare of a few, who should have won and then lost, and some others who also forced a draw out of a possible lost position, as the Ivorian Manan Yoboue Hermann became the Houdini of the tournament, forcing draws in positions where his opponents clearly has winning advantages.
OPENS SECTION:Not long after the kickoff of the sixth round, top seed IM Adu Oladapo wrapped up his 1500+ rated opponent, quicker than one could say “Jack Robinson”, which was followed by a board 2 mishap, as Dr Yinka Adesina played himself into a precarious situation against Ajibola Olanrewaju (who was on a hunt after his round 5 loss), where for a top player, I can only say “he lost” and leave it at that (until the pgns come out on the Chess Results Server). CM Oragwu Chukwunonso rounding off the endgame against Akinwamide Oluwadamilare
As the games grew, in time spent, Akinwamide Oluwadamilare, had to succumb to the endgame prowess of CM Nonso, who ensured that after getting the advantage during the transition point of the middlegame to the endgame, he held on firmly to the end, without taking any unnecessary risks. CM Akinseye Abiola gently squeezed the win from the rock of FM Simplice Degondo, while Abdulrahman Abdulraheem Akintoye (AAA) was fortunate against his opponent, who had an interesting position, before everything went sour, leaving “Triple A” to take the full point. The game between Sasha and Osunfuyi was always going to be very interesting, seeing how far the former had come, not only at the tournament, but in his chess development (codedly)Abimbola Osunfuyi vs Sasha
Sasha was able to enter the endgame with piece advantage, while Osunfuyi entered it with numerical pawn advantage, and after the tussles of over 4 hours, Osunfuyi was able to claim the full point. IM Anquandah Francis also pushed FM Kigigha Bomo for close to 5 hours before finally accepting the fact on board that he has lost, as Oyama Ekok Oyama threw away a winning position against FM Onovughe Ochuko, who, after the game, was wondering what his opponent was seeing, to let him off the hook the way he did. CM Oyama letting the grip go against FM Onovughe Ochuko
CM Atabor Job accepted the fact that in this round, he was totally outplayed and did not fully get where he went wrong against an in-form George Lolomari, who claimed the scalp of the top seed just 2 rounds earlier. FM Hashford John Kojo returned to winning ways against Fomevor Clinton, after a very unexpected losing streak (seems the rest day worked for him). We wait to see how the remaining games go for him.
UPSETS:This round did not produce a lot of upsets in the open section, as most of the top players ended up victorious against their respective opponents, but then, with about 100 points between them, Cameroon’s Ebose Kingue Victor was forced into a draw by Liberia’s National Champion, James Tondo, while his countryman, FM Barcon Harmon also forced AGM #Baba4dgirls Austin Apemiye to a draw. The only major upset that seemingly stands out in this round, would be unrated Kone Daouda’s victory over Aduamah Kofi on board 21, after losing to a 1500+ rated Attade Prosper in round 4.
INTERLUDE:Watching on as the players fight!
The arrival and departure of the former Nigerian Chess Federation President, Retired DIG Sani Mohammed, mni, brought the arrival of the Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohammed Kabir Ibrahim, who also came around to see the games, support their own and take word back to the IG of the Nigeria Police Force after the event. Showing how important chess is becoming and the value it is building and will build in the lives of many.
It was a very interesting round for the ladies at the event, as there were some nice match-ups. Ghana’s current highest rated female player, WCM Felix Tobi took on Ghana’s future prospect, Maud Benson, and not long after IM Adu displaced his opponent, Maud was marauded by the forces of Tobi and she had to bow to her superior opponent and go back to her books. Samson Peace also succumbed to the fire power of WFM Ogbiyoyo Perpetual, Vivian Dzaayem found a way to overcome the resilience of Glory Charles, in other to eventually get the win, in a keenly contested battle of the mind. WFM Ayiku Angela fought her way to draw Ofowino Toritsemuwa
But then, the last game of the round, was the board 1 game of the female section, which showed why “WWE actually made the ladies event the 2019 WRESTLEMANIA’s MAIN EVENT”. Ghana’s WFM Ayiku Angela took the fight to Nigeria’s Ofowino Toritsemuwa (whom the ex-President of the Ghana Chess Association is already calling a Ghanaian), in a super exciting game of the round. Afrter 5 hours of thinking and intense chess, the only fair result for both players had to be a draw, and that was how it ended. A fitting final game of the round.
With 2 rounds coming up today, you would need to hold on to your seats and fasten your seatbelts as West Africa is coming with a loud statement. The top boards of both the male and the female is being worked on to ensure both are transmitted live today.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show!