Going into this round, there were four (4) players who had five (5) points of the of the possible six (6), and it was a battle Royale at the top boards. The intensity of the round made it a must follow, as FM Anwuli Daniel dished out some brilliant computer first moves, to defeat Ajibola Olanrewaju, in an important victory for the young lad. Board 2 was the last game to finish on the day, with IM Balogun Oluwafemi having two (2) pawns at each end of the board, a knight and his Queen, against Nonso’s knight and Queen. Nonso against Balogun
With seconds left on his clock, banging hard on the clock became a thing, as well as incessant draw offers, and Balogun, who was trying to find the right continuation in a game that had lasted over six (6) hours, was distracted, called the arbiter, and made a wrong move to eventually allow the draw, just a few minutes before the start of the eight (8th) round.
Abdulrahman Abdulraheem Akintoye (AAA), was able to get under the skin of FM Kigigha Bomo, through some interesting combinations, which was aided by a wrong opening repertoire from the former Nigerian number 1 chess player. While FM Osunfuyi Abimbola secured an all important victory against his team mate, CM Abiola Akinseye, who would be ruing some missed opportunities in this tournament, and CM Adesina Adeyinka bounced back from the humiliating loss to Ajibola in the previous round, to defeat the Ivorian who has been finding all means to escape a loss since his second round loss to FM Bomo, ‘IM in view’ Manan Yoboue Hermann, in a brilliant way.
This round saw a lot of major upsets, which started on board 4 and 5, where, with close to 200 rating points difference, Akinwamide Oluwadamilare and Lolomari George, both secured impossible draws against their respective opponents, as they continue their superb zonal debuts, which has seen both of them qualify for their respective Candidate Master (CM) titles, with the draw in this round. Liberia’s highest rated player, CM Anthony Waylea Jnr, was also able to calmly defeat Cote D’Ivoire’s highest rated player, FM Degondo Simplice, in a battle of nations. IM in view Manan Yoboue Hermann of Cote D’Ivoire
While the unrated Ivorian, Kone Daouda, was able to steal a draw away from the Cameroonian FM Ebosse Kingue Victor, CM Kamara Ansumana, tried to steal the show, as he overcame the resilience of the senior and solid FM Erhabor David (who seem to be having a bad tournament at the zonals), as he pushes to step up his title, coming from behind. Ghana’s Anhwere Bernard (ELO 1842) saw the crack against Nigeria’s Adegbayi Oluwadara (ELO 2010), and ensured to punish it well enough, and came out victorious at the end of the game, while Ivorian Kouya Franklin, revenged for his compatriot, as he put the Liberian National Champion, James Tondo, to the sword (on the board of course) in their match up.
In the lady’s section, the Nigerian duo of Ofowino Toritsemuwa and WFM Ogbiyoyo Perpetual continued their winning ways after their face off in the previous round, as Toritsemuwa defeated her compatriot Dzaayem Vivian and Perpetual defeated Ghana’s WCM Felix Tobi to trail by half a point. Samson Peace was unable to overcome the stamina and grit of WFM Ayiku Angela, as they both had to come to terms with the game ending in a draw, while Brume Omimi-Okoro had to succumb to the stamina of Cameroon’s WCM Magne Sylvaine, after going a piece up, but was unable to round off, eventually giving back what had been taken, plus the game itself. Charles Glory in action
Charles Glory picked up her 4th win of the tournament, as she defeated Ghana Chess Association’s Vice President, Ashley Christiana, aiming for the WFM title at the event, as youngster Maud Benson also picked up her 4th victory of the tournament against her compatriot Dotse Dzidzor Esi.
It was a battle of friends, who had been through thick and thin together, and facing a lot of challenges alongside each other, a battle of style and ideas, a battle for the top spot, a battle between FM Osunfuyi Abimbola and FM Anwuli Daniel. This battle ended with the young FM Anwuli Daniel, showing a glimpse of what he used to play like in 2016, when he achieved the highest rated player ever status (in the history of Nigeria), as he dislodged his friend brilliantly and without fail, secured the top spot, with a point ahead of the remaining pack. CM Oragwu Chukwunonso
Abdulrahman Abdulraheem Akintoye, who was the best player in Nigeria in 2018, was unable to get past Oragwu Chukwunonso, as they wee both forced to agree to a draw in about two (2) hours of play. CM Adesina Adeyinka continued his resurgence to the top, as he was able to take his time and defeat a worn out, demoralized and angry IM Balogun Oluwafemi, who kept on second guessing his correct moves and eventually making the inaccurate moves that led to his loss. And then, in the battle of the ages, Ajibola Olanrewaju was able to stand tall at the end against IM Adu Oladapo, in a battle that goes beyond just the game.
With a bad opening choice, FM Kigigha Bomo was being controlled by the attacking forces of Liberia’s CM Anthony Waylea Jnr, who was unable to see the right set of continuations in the position, and had to just accept the draw when the offer came. Two (2) tables after, was where #Baba4dGirls, AGM Austin Apemiye, fought for an all important draw against FM Onovughe Ochuko, and he was very happy to have picked up the half point, considering the fact that he is going for his FM title, after picking up his CM title at his first zone 4.4 event in Burkina Faso, just last year. As Kone Daouda picked up an important win over compatriot FM Degondo Simplice, which would guarantee his CM title and put him in good stead to get an initial rating of 2000+, depending on his result against Akinwamide of Nigeria in the final round.
It was allowed to be a stroll in the park for the Nigerian ladies in this round of the tournament, as each of the Nigerian ladies walked out of the hall victorious. Even though there were no easy games, the game that stood out in this round for the ladies, was the match between Peace Samson and WCM Felix Tobi. During the game, Tobi picked up a free piece and a pawn, and was joyous with the believe that she had won the game, only for the game to change toward the end, and Peace was able to not just recover the officer, but threaten the Queen, with an eye for checkmate, which ultimately made Tobi resign. It was indeed a tough round for the Ghanaians, but it is believed that they will bounce back, considering the experience gotten from this event.
It was thanks to the vision and efforts of #Baba4dGirls AGM Austin Apemiye, who called on sponsors within the zone to ensure that West Africa finally produces her very first Woman International Master (WIM) through the event, and the zone 4.4 president, Ameku Philip, who followed up with each federation within the zone as well as Fide, to ensure that everything was sorted out, and after today’s round, it will be confirmed by FIDE.
The pairings for the final rounds for both the male and the female are found below: