The year 2021 has been an exciting one for juniors in Nigeria. In the last 9 months, I have been privileged to attend several standard world-class junior tournaments and It’s been so impressive.
The junior players have managed to comport themselves so much that I do not doubt that junior chess in Nigeria is the next big thing.
I also witnessed the just-concluded Braniac Chess Invitational Tournament and the standard of the tournament was spectacular.
Brainiac chess invitational was a closed tournament of 8 participants comprising seven of the strongest active junior players in Nigeria and a special appearance by Oyelabi Jonathan, acclaimed former junior champion.
The ambiance of the tournament was such that all players were very comfortable with proper provision for spectators within the playing arena and virtual streams.
The tournament took place in the meeting hall of R&A city hotel, a 3.5-star hotel in Ikeja, Lagos.
The playing area was nicely set up with a tea table at the side for the players to relax and enjoy while playing. All players invited were lodged in the hotel through the four days of competition and were well provided with breakfast and lunch. All thanks to the organizers.
The main event of the tournament kicked off on Thursday 9th, September, and was arbitrated by National Arbiter Oyeleye Olawale. All games were transmitted via followchess.com and lichess.org powered by Mr. Austin Apemiye.
The tournament began immediately with interesting games from the first round. There was so much attention on the former champion, Oyelabi Jonathan who has been inactive for over 2 years. The spectators could not help but anticipate how Jonathan will perform against the formidable juniors.
The spectators, particularly the Masters watching and following the games online described the play by the juniors as brilliant, mature, and insightful.
Emmanuel Idara delivered a brilliant win on CM Isaac Okeke. In round 1, we expected a very interesting match from these two but much was expected from the current Junior Chess champion, Okeke Isaac. Idara Emmanuel finished the tournament with 3.5points out of a possible 7, earning an all-expense paid participation in the upcoming Danhypro chess Tour(Lagos Edition), a prize he won the hard way after fighting the second-seeded player in the tournament Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus in a play-off for fourth place as they both finished with the same point, Calistus who lost the play-offs went home with N25,000.
Young master Ekunke Odey Goodness did not have it easy at all, but he was able to take down Oyelabi Jonathan in the first round, the win earned him N30, 000 cash.
Toluwanimi Okemakinde had a good first day defeating the Callistus and the tournament host, Oyelabi Jonathan, but Idara Emmanuel and Matan Adebayo wouldn’t allow him to go through without a fight both players battled Toluwanimi to a draw match to slow him down. Toluwanimi eventually finished third place with 4 points and took home N40 , 000 which includes the doubled bonus winning for defeating Oyelabi Jonathan.
Olisa Tennyson was in very good shape as we witnessed in his games including the one game he lost to the tournament winner, Isaac Okeke. Tennyson finished the tournament in second place earning N50, 000 plus a N10, 000 bounties for defeating the tournament host and former champion Oyelabi Jonathan, a reward which was promised to all players who took down the ex-ranger. Tennyson also won a sponsored trip to the African Junior Chess Championship in Liberia which comes up in December 2021
The star prize of the tournament was An all-expenses-paid trip to the African Junior Individual Chess Championship Candidate Master Okeke Isaac despite his unprecedented loss to Emmanuel Idara in the first round won the trip after ending the tournament with 6 straight wins to champion the event. However, Okeke Isaac chose to switch his ticket for the African Youths Championship in Ghana
The most thrilling event I witnessed during the tournament is how the players put in serious and competitive energy during the games. Immediately after the games these same players were back to joking and having fun together showing a great deal of sportsmanship.
The host promised in his closing speech that there would be other editions of the Brainiac Chess tournament and the Invitational will return soon considering the maiden edition was a huge success and they will love to keep the nice concept alive.
The closing ceremony was organized in a nice new concept, the organizers created a round dining table setting where everyone sat as one family and had dinner in varieties of dishes😋… The ceremony was graced with the attendance of past CPAN president, Mr. Adeyinka Adewole, and current acting president Mr. Martins Amabipi.
To further encourage the players, Mr Adeyinka Adewole who is Known to be a keen promoter of chess at every level but particularly, he encourages junior chess development so well doubled the bonus prizes of 5000 promised to players who defeats Jonathan.
After the awards & prize presentations and dinner, the players were all taken to the cinema for a movie, courtesy of the organizers.
To see pairings and results of all rounds played, see link bellow
Brainiac Chess Juniors Classic Invitational Tournament
Final Ranking after 7 Rounds
|4||3||Emmanuel Joy Idara||0||3.5|
|5||8||Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus||2045||3.5|
|7||4||Matan Adebayo Oludayo||1905||1.5|
|8||7||Ekunke Odey Goodness||1826||1|