Ile-Ife—RRCC Olojo Festival Rapid Chess Tournament: Chess, Culture, and Tradition.

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The Olojo Festival is a festival popularly celebrated in Ile- Ife by the Ooni of Ife and his subjects across Yoruba land. Olojo is a Yoruba word that means: the day of the first dawn that describes the grateful heart of humans towards God Almighty for life, existence, and the rising of a new day. The Olojo festival is also used to remember the popular Yoruba deity, Ogun- the god of iron who they Yorubas believe to be the first son of Oduduwa, progenitor of Yoruba land. 

For years, I have heard tales of the Ọlojo Festival and, I finally got the opportunity not only to visit the great Ile-Ife but also to be a part of the annual cultural festival. The Olojo festival has brought so much innovation to the Yoruba culture and festival by introducing the noble game of chess. The introduction of the game of chess to the Olojo festival not only brought the Yorubas together from various parts of the world, but it also brought foreigners, investors, and non-indigenes to witness the royalty that chess brings.

The Olojo Festival has moved from just being a cultural festival to becoming a chess tournament featuring the best players from all over Nigeria. Chess is recognized for its bringing people together regardless of race, ethnicity, or culture. We witnessed an influx of the best players from different parts of Nigeria; Abuja, Anambra, Oyo, and Lagos. Passion for the game led these players to Ile- Ife. Also, Two notable figures in the Nigeria chess community are from Ile-Ife: Prince Adeyinka Adewole and FM Fawole John Oyeyemi.

Over 50 players gathered together to give a head start to the festivals besides the traditional rituals which would take place during the festival. 

We also witnessed high-profile individuals such as the former President of the Nigeria Chess federation—Mr. Lekan Adeyemi and the former President of the Chess Players Association of Nigeria (CPAN)—Prince Adeyinka Adewole play in the tournament. We also had two International Chess Masters (IM Odion Aikhoje and IM Femi Balogun). To some people, this tournament was an opportunity to improve their games by playing formidable opponents. To others, this was about proving themselves worthy of a shot in the spotlight. I believe many, if not everyone, achieved why they came.  

It is imperative to give worthy credit to the organizers of the Olojo Festival Chess Tournament RAIA ROOKS CHESS CHESS CLUB (RRCC) led by Hon. Bisi Awope. The tournament was well put together in Cameron hotel, Ile-Ife, a 4.5-star hotel with a “bar-area chess concept,” a concept that is known to be the oldest in the history of chess tournaments or chess clubs. In the 80s/90s, chess tournaments in a bar arena were popular in Europe. In the present day, chess clubs in pubs still exist. 

Apart from the excellent coordination and conducive environment, the organizers took extra care of their guests with a provision of free lunch. Some top players and female players were given some special conditions.

The main event started at 10 am prompt on Wednesday, 15th of September, arbitrated by FA BOYO PAUL KEHINDE and assisted by NA Oladejo Tunde.  It was a nine-round rapid tournament with the time control of 15 minutes for each game with 10 seconds increment from move one- this arrangement ran for two days.

FIDE Arbiter Boyo Paul Kehinde and Chief Organizer of the Festival, Hon. Adebisi Awope

Considering the average rating of the tournament, one will expect the top masters around to finish all on top of the ladder. But, it was not a walk in the park for anyone. The level of difficulty of the competition was seen in the final ranking table. There were only two players who went unbeaten, and they were the tournament winners. Edet Udeme finished in a two-way tie alongside Akande Temitope with 7.5 points out of a possible 9 but earned the trophy by tie break. Okemakinde Toluwanimi won clear third with 7points while the rest of the rank table was a long list of shared prizes as many players finished with the same point.

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13Edet UdemeNGR21767,50,5652,0
26Akande TemitopeNGR21097,50,5648,5
39Okemakinde ToluwanimiNGR19757,00,0749,5
451Oyenekan Oluwaseyitan EvangelNGR06,50,0645,0
51IMAikhoje OdionNGR22876,50,0549,5
652Oyepitan Josua AyodejiNGR06,00,0651,0
753Oziegbe PromiseNGR06,00,0648,5
813Onabote Olasubomi JohnNGR17436,00,0648,0
911Matan Adebayo OludayoNGR19096,00,0639,5
104Lapite OluwadurotimiNGR21256,00,0550,0
112IMBalogun OluwafemiNGR22086,00,0543,0
125Akinseye OladotunNGR21186,00,0449,5
1316Afolabi EmmanuelNGR15865,50,0544,5
148Olaniran Oluwatosin EmmanuelNGR19765,50,0544,0
1549Omesu Miracle ChinyereNGR05,50,0541,0
1630Omolayo AyomideNGR05,50,0540,5
1742Odimayo TaiyeNGR05,00,0547,0
1814Suleiman Azumi AyishaNGR17265,00,0546,0
197Adewole AdeyinkaNGR20165,00,0543,5
2018Akinbodewa AdebayoNGR14885,00,0542,0
2115Ikuenomore Ayodeji OlumuyiwaNGR17245,00,0540,0
2222Adeyemi DebolaNGR05,00,0538,5
2347Olomitutu Richard OluwatobiNGR05,00,0535,5
2432Buhari MohammedNGR05,00,0437,5
2525Akinluyi VictorNGR04,50,0444,0
2645Okeleye David TimilehinNGR04,50,0443,5
2735Dosunmu AdebayoNGR04,50,0441,5
2844Ogunsanmi Funmilayo AdeolaNGR04,50,0440,0
2937Eyang DanielNGR04,00,0441,5
3043Ogundare AyomideNGR04,00,0440,5
3138Eyefia EnduranceNGR04,00,0438,5
3241Lanre AdesinaNGR04,00,0437,0
3323Adeyemi OlalekanNGR04,00,0437,0
3427Awonusi OluwasegunNGR04,00,0436,0
3510Animashaun ArowoloNGR19404,00,0434,5
3654Salami Motunrayo AyomideNGR04,00,0434,0
3717Nzeako Chizoba TreasureNGR15644,00,0431,0
3831Ayomiposi AdeyemiNGR04,00,0334,5
3948Olubunmi David TomilolaNGR03,50,0337,5
4033Chukura Adanwakaego OloladeNGR03,50,0335,0
4128Ayodeji Henry AyodejiNGR03,50,0234,5
4240Iwuagwu Onyedikachi WilliamsNGR03,00,0339,0
4326Akokhia AbdullahiNGR03,00,0339,0
4450Oni Emmanuel Prime OluwatobiNGR03,00,0336,5
4539Falola Favour OpeyimikaNGR03,00,0236,5
4634Dikeocha OluchiNGR03,00,0232,0
4746Afolayan Ola DapoNGR03,00,0227,0
4829Ayomide AdesinaNGR02,00,0137,5
4921Adeyemi Ayoyemi WuraolaNGR01,00,0031,0
5024Akinkunmi OlaniyiNGR00,00,0028,0
5112Olomola OlusegunNGR18420,00,0027,0
19Awesome John AanuoluwapoNGR14450,00,0027,0
20Adeoye AbiodunFID00,00,0027,0
36AWOPE ADEBISINGR00,00,0027,0

The third edition of the Raia Rooks Chess Club Olojo Festival Rapid Chess Tournament was a memorable one. We hope that by the fourth edition, we will be honored by the presence of the Kabiyesi, His Royal Highness, The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; (Ọjájá II).   

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