The quarterfinal was dominated by the veterans, who showed that age is not just a number, but one that comes with good experience. This may come as a surprise, given the extent of which young players rise up the ladder, as regards the National rankings.
Although an inspired finish ended the day in Armageddon, it was a sweet day!
Things were still up in the air, as FM Adebayo Adegboyega, popularly known as the “warlock” Dabee, was the very first player to qualify into the semifinals. His opponent (FM Kigigha Bomo) withdrew from the match, giving FM Adebayo Adegboyega a walkover victory into the semifinal stages.
Similarly, a topsy turvy game ensued between the young FM Osunfuyi Abimbola and IM Aikhoje Odion. The former would have felt pretty bad for losing his first two (2) games in a four (4) game quarterfinal match up.
He came back in game three (3) with a brilliant queen sac, which showed the power of a well-coordinated bishop pair and rook pair against a queen and restricted knights. The precision in the game ensures that it has to be featured in the article, as seen below.
The young lad went on to lose the final game of the match to the semi-retired IM Aikhoje Odion, who gallantly marches on into the semi-final match with a 3-1 match point.
Observers that the match between IM Anwuli Daniel and IM Olape Bunmi was likened to a master and student’s game. The young man had the game in the opening with a position to crave for, only to start making consistent inaccurate moves.
IM Bunmi slowed him down (If you leave a challenge unanswered, the attack will start stealing your middle games) and eventually drove home the first game.
What goes on as a consequence, Daniel calls it a ‘natural blatant series of attacks’. Actually, IM Olape calls it a nail on the coffin, as a well-timed rook sac on the h7 square from the veteran showed.
It is not about survival, as much as it is about getting the points. Although, in the minds of people like Bradshaw, the two are interrelated.
IM Anwuli is called “the art of comeback”, considering his antecedence in coming back from games down to win a match. But this time, it was not to be, as all the brilliant moves eluded him and making some unforced errors with a catastrophic 30.Bd2?? that forced a rook for bishop exchange and ultimately killed the morale of the young lad.
IM Olape secured a third straight win and with that secured his place in the semifinals, which already had two (2) other veterans qualified with a 3-0 scoreline.
However, the final match of the round was the most intriguing, with two (2) young and energetic young guys, FM Akintoye Abdulrahman Abdulraheem and FM Oragwu Chukwunonso, battling for the opportunity to battle against these veterans in the semi-final stage of the Malogychess sponsored event.
It was a match of wits and ideas between the two (2) gems, with FM Oragwu taking the first two sets with seeming ease, but in ways that would have left a bitter taste on the tongue of FM Akintoye.
The Kwara State indigene, Fide Master Akintoye brought out the laser beams at the restart, as he made Maroczy proud in his grave when he chose his line in a must-win game.
Using the Maroczy bind against the accelerated dragon opening has been known to be a solid weapon of choice, and FM Akintoye used it in a very solid manner to attain the result needed.
They then chose to take a trip to the Czech Republic, in a game that FM Akintoye needed to win (for tie breaks to ensue) and FM Oragwu needed a draw to win it.
The 2019 African Amateur Champion was unable to secure the draw, as Dbestsmiles secured his comeback into the match with the Czech defense that conquered the impending attack of the African champion.
This tie led to the first blitz tiebreaker (3 minutes + 2 seconds added from move 1) of the event. Both players picked up wins with the black pieces in the opening two (2) games, only to agree to draw in the remaining two (2) games.
Being inseparable after the blitz tiebreak event, the players moved on to the Armageddon tiebreak, which affords the player with the white pieces five (5) minutes to play (but he must win), and black is afforded four (4) minutes to play (and only needs a draw to be victorious).
What makes FM Akintoye’s black achievements most noteworthy is that he is primarily an attacking player. Prior to his time and success, the game was threatening to become an almost wholly offensive game, taking the attack to FM Oragwu, as though he was the one playing to win the war.
Considering the fact that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up, this game was a good example of just that.
Eventually, the Ilorin born chess player secured a position of draw by agreement, where he could either push for more than a draw, only to settle for the draw, since that was enough for the match victory.
Enjoy the games live on lichess by following any of the players on the platform. You can also stay glued to @Malogychess on the various social media handles, to get the best chess matches from Nigeria in this season!
The final set of games will come up by 8pm CAT, after FM Adebayo takes a healthy 2-0 lead over IM Odion into the final two (2) games, and IM Olape leads FM Akintoye with a 1.5-0.5 gap, going into the last couple of games in the semifinals!
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