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.
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
|4||51||Oyenekan Oluwaseyitan Evangel||NGR||0||6,5||0,0||6||45,0|
|6||52||Oyepitan Josua Ayodeji||NGR||0||6,0||0,0||6||51,0|
|8||13||Onabote Olasubomi John||NGR||1743||6,0||0,0||6||48,0|
|9||11||Matan Adebayo Oludayo||NGR||1909||6,0||0,0||6||39,5|
|14||8||Olaniran Oluwatosin Emmanuel||NGR||1976||5,5||0,0||5||44,0|
|15||49||Omesu Miracle Chinyere||NGR||0||5,5||0,0||5||41,0|
|18||14||Suleiman Azumi Ayisha||NGR||1726||5,0||0,0||5||46,0|
|21||15||Ikuenomore Ayodeji Olumuyiwa||NGR||1724||5,0||0,0||5||40,0|
|23||47||Olomitutu Richard Oluwatobi||NGR||0||5,0||0,0||5||35,5|
|26||45||Okeleye David Timilehin||NGR||0||4,5||0,0||4||43,5|
|28||44||Ogunsanmi Funmilayo Adeola||NGR||0||4,5||0,0||4||40,0|
|36||54||Salami Motunrayo Ayomide||NGR||0||4,0||0,0||4||34,0|
|37||17||Nzeako Chizoba Treasure||NGR||1564||4,0||0,0||4||31,0|
|39||48||Olubunmi David Tomilola||NGR||0||3,5||0,0||3||37,5|
|40||33||Chukura Adanwakaego Ololade||NGR||0||3,5||0,0||3||35,0|
|41||28||Ayodeji Henry Ayodeji||NGR||0||3,5||0,0||2||34,5|
|42||40||Iwuagwu Onyedikachi Williams||NGR||0||3,0||0,0||3||39,0|
|44||50||Oni Emmanuel Prime Oluwatobi||NGR||0||3,0||0,0||3||36,5|
|45||39||Falola Favour Opeyimika||NGR||0||3,0||0,0||2||36,5|
|47||46||Afolayan Ola Dapo||NGR||0||3,0||0,0||2||27,0|
|49||21||Adeyemi Ayoyemi Wuraola||NGR||0||1,0||0,0||0||31,0|
|19||Awesome John Aanuoluwapo||NGR||1445||0,0||0,0||0||27,0|
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).