Abuja Rapid Chess Championship 2023: Michael Cole and Brume Omimi-Okoro Dominate the Competition

Michael Cole and Brume Omimi-Okoro Shine at Abuja Rapid Chess Championship.

On the 12th of June 2023, a resplendent June day infused with the aura of liberty, Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day. On this day, the Zalika Chess Club had the distinct honour of hosting the highly anticipated Abuja Rapid Chess Championship 2023. The event took place in the Zalika Garden, located in the enchanting precincts of Area 2, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria. Pureheart Irikefe reports from Abuja.

The tournament was adorned with the generous sponsorship of BruvsChess Media and the unwavering support of the esteemed Nigeria Chess Federation. The tournament was FIDE-rated, ensuring its rightful place among the annals of chess excellence. With a regal prize fund of NGN150,000, around 80 individuals gathered, their hearts aflame with ambition, to stake their claim as the crowning champion of the Abuja Rapid Chess Championship.

Truly, this tournament unfurled its resplendent wings, soaring to the heights of accomplishment and leaving an indelible imprint on the chess landscape.


The tournament, complete with its captivating allure, encompassed 15 prizes across three categories: The Open, Women’s, and Under 12. A harmonious tapestry of humanity took centre stage as men, women, and children united their fates within the sacred realm of the chessboard. Each participant brought forth a kaleidoscope of distinctive talents and profound abilities, igniting a symphony of anticipation that reverberated through Zalika Garden. The atmosphere, suffused with electric fervour, witnessed the games unfold in a magnificent display of strategic brilliance. The tournament was played in seven rounds with a time control of 15 minutes flat.

Among the favorites’ to win the tournament were illustrious figures such as Joshua Adejoh, whose mastery had earned him the coveted title of the 2022 Abuja Rapid Chess Champion. Also, the prodigious CM Job Atabor, the indomitable Ikechukwu Ezeanya, a past Abuja Blitz Chess Champion, illuminated the battlefield with his resolute spirit. The enigmatic Femi Iyanda, known as gm-Femix was also considered a favourite to win the tournament. Other notable favourites to win the event are Michael Christopher Cole, known for his prowess as one of Nigeria’s fastest Bullet Chess players and the formidable Mustapha Othman. Ensuring the harmonious symphony of the tournament’s proceedings were the esteemed adjudicators: Messrs. Pureheart Irikefe, the Tournament Director; Samuel Ojikutu, the Chief Arbiter; and Rowland Adejoh, the Arbiter. They artfully guided the players through the labyrinthine passages of chess’s grand dance.

The tournament commenced with a flurry of activity as players from diverse backgrounds converged on the venue with their chessboards and clocks. The ambience was charged as the players took their positions at the tables, each one resolute to emerge as the winner. The air was saturated with the sound of chess pieces being moved, the gentle tap-tap-tap of the clocks, and the occasional gasp of excitement from the onlookers.


The opening round was a display of tactical wizardry and unwavering courage. The reigning champion, Joshua Adejoh, found himself facing off against the venerable veteran, Joshua Ali, at Board One. In a stunning demonstration of mastery, the defending champion used his strategic ingenuity to triumph over his formidable opponent and advance to the next round with an indomitable spirit. The first round saw few surprises as lesser-known opponents were defeated with ease.

Joshua Ali (left) and Joshua Adejoh (right) on Board One

As the tournament gathered momentum, the ebb and flow of fortunes revealed themselves in unpredictable twists, delivering astonishment and delight as renowned favorites succumbed to the deft maneuvers of lesser-known challengers. Truly, the Abuja Rapid Chess Championship of 2023 was a spectacle woven with threads of surprises. Each round became a portal to a new universe of challenges, and the audience captivated, clung to the edge of their seats, enraptured by the unfolding drama.

Players showing resounding focus during the tournament

In the end, destiny, like an unerring compass, pointed to the transcendent talent of Michael Christopher Cole. His resplendent brilliance shone like a supernova amidst the starlit firmament of competitors. Throughout the arduous seven rounds, every move he made was a symphony of calculated precision. He wove a tapestry of strategic virtuosity, enthralling all who bore witness. With an unparalleled tournament score of 6½ out of 7, his triumph was an inexorable conclusion, a fitting culmination of his unwavering dedication and incomparable skill. He, the embodiment of regal prowess, was duly crowned the 2023 Abuja Rapid Chess Champion, and his name will forever be etched in the annals of this monumental event.

L-R: Cole, winner of the event and Brume Omimi-Okoro, the best female

Yet, amidst the celestial crescendo of Cole’s triumph, others too graced the podium of greatness. Ikechukwu Ezeanya, his spirit ablaze with passion and resolve, alongside the indomitable SP. Emmanuel Diogu, forged an indissoluble bond of second place, sharing in the spoils of victory. Their prowess, undeniable and resolute, cemented their place among the heralded few who dared to traverse the perilous terrain of the chessboard.

Let it not be forgotten that the ethereal realm of chess knows no bounds of gender, as Brume Omimi-Okoro, a Woman Candidate Master (elect), defied the capricious whims of fortune to emerge as the paramount female contender. Her flame rekindled after a turbulent start; when she lost her first three games. In a blaze of redemption, Brume Omimi-Okoro went berserk and won every one of her last four games in style.

In the Under-12 Category, where dreams take flight and destinies are woven with innocent wonder, Promise Tyowase‘s radiant star ascended. His chessboard was an enchanted canvas of victory, and with unparalleled youthful brilliance, he traversed the landscape of challenges unscathed. Every move he made was a testament to his prodigious talents. As the echoes of his checkmates reverberated through the tournament hall, his claim to the title of Abuja Rapid Chess Champion of the Under-12 Category became an unassailable truth. Verily, Promise Tyowase emerged as a force of nature, like a wildfire consuming all in its path, and a harbinger of future triumphs yet to come.

Promise Tyowase, winner of the Under-12 (right) and Mendie Oto-Obong


The Abuja Rapid Chess Championship of 2023 will always be remembered as an unforgettable moment in the history of Abuja chess. From the beautiful sunrise on that fateful day to the embrace of twilight, the tournament’s charm captivated the hearts of all who witnessed it. It was a symphony of strategic brilliance and unwavering determination.

The Final Ranking was a testament to the players’ boundless spirit, showcasing the triumphs and tribulations that wove their delicate strands through the tapestry of this unforgettable event.

In Nigeria’s chess heritage, this tournament will always hold a sacred place, reminding us of the game’s enduring popularity and serving as a beacon of inspiration for all who dare to dream and immerse themselves in the profound beauty of the royal game.


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