After the first day of interesting games, the juniors came together yet again, to finish what they had started.
Games on the top board were keenly contested, which was why virtually every game being broadcasted ended in a draw until the final two (2) rounds.
While Okeke and Idara came into day two (2) leading the pack with half a point, they were inseparable in the 6th round of the tournament. Both players came into the game, knowing that they can not afford to lose, and they duly delivered a masterful play.
The quartet of Okemakinde, Tennyson, Osadebe, and Okeke Daniel, were all victorious in the 6th round, which put them at par with the leading duo, and pit them against themselves in the following round.
The girls were not left behind in the pursuit of glory, as both Azumi Ayisha and Onoja Iyefu stood tall against their respective opponents to claim victories in the 6th round.
It was masterful play on board 1, when both Okemakinde and Okeke met to battle it out. Okemakinde was defeated in this encounter when they met in Port Harcourt, however, he was unlucky not to claim the full point this time.
Inspired by the doggedness of Grandmaster Maxime Vachier Lagrave, Okeke opted for a very interesting Narjdorf variation of the Sicilian opening.
Both players left very little room for errors and after castling to the queenside and trading off queens, all other officers were soon traded, leaving a bishop apiece along with a plethora of pawns.
It took a bishop sacrifice from Okemakinde, along with the sacrifice of his remaining two (2) pawns, for him to secure the draw.
Meanwhile, on boards two (2) and three (3), Olisa Tennyson and Idara Emmanuel demonstrated a good understanding of the game to overcome their respective opponents.
The wins placed both of them half a point ahead of both Okeke and Okemakinde in the pursuit of the trophy and medals (along with the cash prizes on offer too).
The girls continued their match forward too. Onoja Iyefu got revenge on the board against 10 year old Ekunke Goodness, who defeated her in the Port Harcourt edition of the tour, while Suleiman Azumi Ayisha got an important victory over Ferdinand Tersay Joseph.
Both Elora and Jessica also chipped in with victories for the girls in the pursuit of the best female prizes.
The battle on top board was the battle of two (2) boys looking to make a statement. Idara had put so much pressure on Tennyson, that it was not totally shocking when Tennyson had a bishop hanging, only to touch a pawn that was on its own. He resigned immediately, as there was no way back into the game for him.
Okeke had a straight win against a young chap that has been evolving behind the scenes, where people are not seeing him, Akinbodewa (Fepos) Adebayo.
On the 3rd board, however, the game between Okemakinde and Matan Adebayo had an unclear middle game. Matan offered draw, and Okemakinde refused.
A few moves later, and Okemakinde found himself seemingly losing in an endgame that included two (2) pawns for Matan vs a pawn for Okemakinde.
However, in a bid to match Okemakinde’s speed, Matan miscalculated and allowed Okemakinde to capture the pawn advantage, while protecting his pawn in the next move.
It was a straightforward win for Okemakinde afterwards, and he duly converted.
On the girls end, Onoja Iyefu kept the fire burning for a top three (3) finish when she overcame the barrage of attacks being posed by Salako Clinton in the penultimate round, and forcing him to resign with some deft moves.
Unfortunately, Suleiman Azumi Ayisha could not follow in Onoja’s footsteps, as she was subdued by a resilient Abdullahi Adamu, who shot his eyes away from every form of distractions to convert the win.
With this loss, Iguehi Elora Oise was able to boost her chances of best female prize, with her victory over Iwuagwu Ayomide Ifesinachi.
The final round was billed to be a firecracker on the top boards, and they duly delivered. With half a point behind Idara, Okemakinde knew that only a win can give him a possible shot at retaining his championship, and he fought for it with everything he’s got.
Opening with the Chekhover opening against the Sicilian Narjdorf again, Okemakinde was able to get the victory he missed against Okeke in the 7th round.
In a defining game for Onoja Iyefu, she was unable to match the prowess of Okeke Isaac, having arrived about five (5) minutes late for the final round.
The deciding match for the best female player of the tournament occurred in the final round. Suleiman Azumi Ayisha took on Iguehi Elora Oise, with the former coming out victorious in a keenly contested affair.
The win put Suleiman Azumi Ayisha ahead of Onoja Iyefu on tie breaks, however, they both share the top two (2) best female prizes.
The Danhypro Chess Tour has successfully hosted two (2) of the four (4) planned junior event editions. Next up is Asaba, we hope to see you there.