Over the course of this year, the Danhypro enterprise had been committed to bringing tournaments to the young minds in Nigeria. This idea gained grounds because the organization believes that with more competition, the young kids will push themselves to become better than their “imagined” best (which was exactly what happened).
The Danhypro chess tour started in Port Harcourt, the heart of the Southern part of Nigeria. From the south, the event moved to Abuja, the heart of the Northern region. Afterwards, the event took a trip to Asaba, which was a central location to those in the East. The grand finale has now held in Lagos, the central location for those in the western part of Nigeria.
The winners and special point recorders got more and more opportunities with other events, as well as events that have junior participants. A way to get the young players fighting until the end (considering they do not know what other opportunity the Danhypro team will afford them).
The Danhypro team provided incentives for juniors in other states traveling for the Grand finale in Lagos, to ease the cost of participation, as well as encourage more organizers in other parts of the country to invest in junior chess.
The 264 Chess Club at Cajaarh, Abuja, was one of the beneficiaries of this kind gesture. Owing to the fact that they put together a competition to produce winners, who would receive flight tickets to the grand finale in Lagos; the Danhypro team chose to provide accommodation for those being sponsored, as well as giving them some token.
The Grand Finale
It was an exceptionally brilliant display of fight from the young kids under the age of twenty (20), whom the Danhypro enterprise have given the opportunity to show what they can achieve if given the right atmosphere to thrive.
The first three (3) rounds saw some interesting turn of events, as the top seeded Emmanuel Idara was unable to retain his top spot, after losing his second round game to Ebalu Oko-Odion Deron.
Two (2) girls, Suleiman Azumi Ayisha (1st) and Omesu Miracle Chinyere (4th) were in the top five (5) after the first three (3) rounds. A feat that shows the evolution of the female gender in the Nigeria Chess Industry.
With thirteen (13) kids tied on 3/3 after the first three (3) rounds, it was going to take more than luck to separate the kids and produce an eventual winner.
At the end of the first day, it was former top junior Eyetonghan Callistus, and the renewed Matan Adebayo, who led the charge for the top spot with perfect scores of 5/5.
The second day began brightly for Callistus, who came out firing on all cylinders, and took charge of the tournament with a win over Adebayo. This win made him the sole leader of the tournament, and the person to beat, if anyone must win the tournament.
In the 7th round, Callistus faced the 7th ranked Chima Mount Zion, who has been tipped as a raw talent and someone people should look out for in the near future. Callistus sacrificed a pawn, then another pawn, and then a rook bishop sacrifice, and received a full rook compensation for his hardwork. He exchanged queens, and the rest was a matter of ticking the boxes, for the win.
With the win, Callistus kept his 1-point advantage over the following troops who are gunning for the top spot behind him.
“It is easier to get to the top, than to stay at the top”
Before the 8th round, not a lot of people gave an inkling to the emergence, prominence or prowess of Job Oluwatobiloba, because he has been out of the chess scene for so long.
Job Oluwatobiloloba was a child prodigy, who played the Chess Players Association of Nigeria’s Chess League as an under 16, and took some scalps in the process. Now nineteen (19) and in the University of Lagos, he barely had time to participate in tournaments.
Callistus went into the 8th round as sole leader, and came out joint leader with Okemakinde Toluwanimi and Job Oluwatobiloba, who defeated Callistus himself and Salako Clinton respectively.
Although, they were joint leaders, they were being followed closely, by Olisa Tennyson and Okeke Isaac, who were half a point behind, along with seven (7) other players who were only a point behind (a loss was very harmful to the cause).
The final round of the grand finale produced some unexpected results as well as interesting. As the games were ending on other boards, the top six (6) boards had something to play for, more than others did.
Eyetonghan Callistus took on the surprise of the tournament, Job Oluwatobiloba on the top board. Olisa Tennyson was paired against Okemakinde Toluwanimi on board 2. Okeke Isaac took the fight to Abdullahi Adamu via board 3. Akinbodewa Adebayo took the fight to Chima Mount Zion on board 4. Salako Clinton battled Sanni Fawaz on the 5th board. While Oyakhilome David took on Alagoa Domo on board 6.
The final games kicked in, and Mount Zion who took the first point on the top boards. He was able to take Adebayo into a deep dark forest, where the latter did not realize that the opponent’s queen was attacking the square he dropped his rook.
The rook was swiftly captured, and he had to give up a few moves after, when he had allowed his pawns to be captured and his knight had been pinned to his queen.
Salako Clinton pushed Sanni to his limit, and as the latter broke, the former was on hand to pick up the pieces and convert a sweet humbling game.
Alagoa Domo calmly showed one of the “strange twins”, Oyakhilome David, that his own plan was better, as they headed towards the endgame, and David missed his way in the transition point that led to the endgame, which made him resign a few moves later. This gave the Bayelsa boy a solid finish to the event.
As this game was ending, Okeke Isaac and Abdullahi Adamu were nearing the endgame. Both players had pawns that was heading for the queening squares, and although Adamu’s pawn got to the end first, Isaac had felt he could get his pawn to the end too.
Unfortunately, after Adamu got his queen, his checks were so forceful, that Isaac’s two pawns were going to fall victim of capture. With this realization, Okeke shouted “God! God! No! No!” and stormed out of the hall.
People wandered what had transpired and saw the position and the clock, which only explained to the initiated. The uninitiated had to be explained to in layman chess terms.
While this was still baffling some, Okemakinde Toluwanimi, on board two (2), was low on time, as he was battling with a complicated endgame against Olisa Tennyson. Should I promote? Should I check him? He forgot that his clock was less than 5 seconds remaining.
On seeing his clock on 0:00, he toed the path of Isaac and shouted, “F*#k S*&t” continually, and stormed out of the hall. Olisa Tennyson also shouted “Thank You Lord” continually and gave his report.
With this, it remained the game on the top board, where Callistus was trying to swindle Oluwatobiloba. Oluwatobiloba’s understanding of the position was flawless, as he maneuvered his two (2) knights and outside pawns to full effect, and ensured a brilliant victory for himself at the tournament.
He won the game and claimed the comeback king nickname at the Danhypro event that is sponsored by the company of a comeback king International Master Anwuli Daniel himself (who would have been proud of the young chap).
Job Oluwatobiloba won the tournament without losing a game, being the only player to do this at the Lagos event. He also finished the tournament the sole winner, taking a cue from Okeke Isaac, who was the sole winner at the Asaba edition of the tour.
At the closing ceremony, the ably present were the president and vice president of the Nigeria Chess Federation, DIG (Rtd.) Sani Mohammed, mni., and Prince Adewole Adeyinka, respectively. They graced the occasion, along with other veterans in the fold and the representative of the 264 Chess and Scrabble Club, Cajaarh, Abuja.
Here, Job Oluwatobiloba received the trophy for the Lagos edition of the tour. Olisa Tennyson received the silver medal for his efforts in securing second place. Eyetonghan Callistus received the bronze medal for topping the list of players who joined him in third place finish.
During the closing ceremony, the representative of Danhypro Services announced that all the players who scored seven (7) points and above would get accommodation for the 1st Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chess Tournament, which kicked off today.