Following the FIDE rating boom achieved by numerous chess players last year, there are strong indications that better chess empowerment awaits all the ambitious players following the activities lined up for the year by the board of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF).
At the last board meeting held recently in Asaba, Delta State, a total of rated tournaments are available both within and outside the country this year and the availability of these events according to the President of NCF, Lekan Adeyemi, will add value to the development of the game in the country.
According to the programme of activities made available to the media, the registration and licensing of players is on-going alongside the payment of affiliation fees to the world chess body, FIDE. Next month, Achiever University in Ondo State will host the maiden edition of the National University Chess Championship in Owo from March 25-29, which is FIDE rated.
For the first time in the history of chess it will feature at the National Sports Festival (NSF), the event is FIDE rated aside the medals to be awarded all the players. Barring any last minute changes by the National Sports Commission (NSC), the event will hold in Calabar in April.
The annual Friends of Chess will hold in April 3-4th in Lagos, while Malogy Chess Championship will come up immediately after and both events are to be rated.
The famous C4 National Chess Championship organised by the Players’ Union annually in Lagos and South West Zonal Championships in Ibadan will take centre stage in May between 2nd-3rd and 28th-31st respectively. While the National U-14 Chess Championship will run between 14th-16th of the month.
The Chess boss further stated that the famous Millionaire Chess Satellite Championship will debut in Abuja from June 3-7th of June and the South-south Zonal Chess Championship in Benin will follow from 10th-28th while Pro-Chess Quarterly event in Ibadan from 24th-28th will wrap up the half-way mark for the year.
The National Chess League by all the registered clubs with NCF will hold at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan from July 1- 5th and it will allow for ambitious players to improve their ratings jus as the National Inter-collegiate Team Chess Championship will be staged at the Indoor Sports hall of National Stadium in Lagos from 15th-19th while the Northern States Chess Championships will debut in Kaduna from July 22-25th.
Four tournaments, namely; National Schools Chess Championship, Tunde Omotosho Memorial Rapid Chess Championship, National U-20 Chess Championship and Chess Height event will hold in August in Ibadan, Benin and Lagos respectively.
In September, moments after the 86th FIDE Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the Blind Chess Championship for impaired chess players will hold in Lagos from 10th-12th and the National Women Championship will follow from 17th-20th in Ibadan while Pro-Chess quarterly will round up the month at the same city.
Delta State will host the maiden Victoria Ossai Memorial Rapid Chess Championship in Warri and the event will hold on October 1 and in the middle of the month, the 38th edition of Nigerian Breweries Plc International Chess Championship will hold from 14th-18th of the month and the 3rd Lagos Chess Classic will follow from 21st-25th. Both events will hold at the Molade-Okoya-Thomas hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The second edition of NCF President Cup will hold in November in Benin while NUGA Games in Markudi will allow players to improve on their ratings as well. The year will wind up with the Ashtonwells Chess Championship in Abraka, Benin Chess Championship (Oba’s Cup) and the National Closed Championship in Ibadan from December 8-13th. MTN Chess tournament and Gladiators Chess event will round up a busy year of activities to Nigerian chess players.