Prestigious and Important.
These are the two words that exemplify the National Sports Festival (at least as far as chess is concerned). The National Sports Festival is an avenue to spot talent and find outstanding sportsmen & sportswomen in the Nigeria Sporting Industry.
Chess at the Festival, is a team event, where a team of six (6), four (4) starting players and two (2) reserve players, represent various state of the country.
For the chess event at the National Sports Festival, the winnable medals are as follows:
Team Medals: 6 Gold – 6 Silver – 6 Bronze
Individual Medals: 6 board Gold – 6 board Silver – 6 board Bronze
Blitz Medals: 1 Gold – 1 Silver – 1 Bronze
Total Medals: 84 Medals for male and female.
Over the last three (3) festivals, Oyo state has outshone every other state in the chess event of the competition, claiming back to back to back team gold medals, as well as various individual medals. At the last festival in Edo state, the best performing player for both the Female (Enomah Emmanuella) and Open (Onokpite Kennedy) sections, were representing Oyo state at the tournament.
Going into the National Sports Festival, Delta 2022, the chess event begins today, the 2nd of December, 2022, at the Hamobi Hotels and Suites, Opposite Delta State University Business School, Asaba.
The movement of a few of players from the Oyo state team Fide Master Osunfuyi Abimbola (Oyo to Delta), Woman Fide Master Ogbiyoyo Perpetual (Oyo to Bayelsa) and 2020 Triple Gold Medalist Enomah Emmanuella Trust (Oyo to Bayelsa), was meant to reduce the efficiency to the gold medals. However, it has provided an opportunity for a few others to come into the team.
In terms of finances, the highest paying states for medals won at the National Sports Festival, has always been Delta state and Bayelsa state, who both pay a million naira (N1,000,000) for each gold medal won. Furtherance to the payment on medals, these states ensure that their players are well taken care of during the festival, as well as put the players on monthly payroll, and support their continuous development in the sport.
Oyo state broke the bank to level up in 2012, promising and keeping to their words to pay a million naira for each gold medal won from the National Sports Festival, Eko 2012 in Lagos, but has since not been able to meet up to this task.
Whereas, everyone can not play for the top states, who seek the best of the best for the value they provide, chess players have had to develop their games and come show their skills at the festival, representing various states.
States like Kaduna, Kano, Ekiti, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, who for one reason or another have been on a budget, have always found a way to get/develop players who can win them medals at the event, and do well. Others also work hard to attain medals; however, the model for the chess event is about to change.
At the 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta state, the chess event will be Fide rated for the very first time. This means that every participating player gets a Fide ID (if they did not have one before), as well as a Fide rating when the January rating list becomes live on the eve of the new year.
Furthermore, as opposed to players receiving individual medals based on a perfect score attained during the tournament, this year, medals will go to players who achieve the best performance rating on each board. It is hoped that this will ensure the best players will be on the podium at the end of the event.
The Schedule for the event was altered due to a late change in venue, however, the original schedule is as seen below:
A new dawn has arrived and the Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) is working hard to ensure that everyone develops, becoming better with the challenges posed before them. This is why we are chess players, and why we love the game. The ability to overcome, surpass, and attain success despite obstructions.
The Nigeria Chess Federation will also have the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) with major stakeholders during the festival. The details are below:
Invited to the AGM are: State Chess Association Chairmen and Secretaries
Call to order
Introduction of participants
President’s opening speech and remarks
Review and adoption of the NCF constitution
Reports from Committee heads
Adjournment and Closing
It is hoped that at the end of the AGM, the Nigeria Chess Federation will have her own constitution, as well as more states who would take chess more seriously than they currently do.
As the chess event at the National Festival kicks off today, there will be very interesting games, as well as upsets.
Who is your pick to win the team gold, silver and bronze medals? Who is your dark horse for the 2022 Chess Festival?