Nigeria on Sunday bounced back into reckoning at the ongoing World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk,following the men’s team 3.5-0.5 demolition of Ghana in the 5th round.
The quartet of Charles Campbell, Olanrewaju Ajibola, Olumide Ajibowo and Inimo Kigigha made the nation proud with the win, which has put the team back in contention for category honour at the global chess event.
Olanrewaju played in black pieces against Francis Anquanddi in Queen’s opening with (1) d4-d5 (2) e3-Nf6 (3) Bd3-c5 but with an innovation of the Nigerian with c5 on move 3, it was later transposed into Maroczy bind and on move 16, Olanrewaju was on the verge of winning a Rook for a pawn sacrifice and brought the game to a ruthless conclusion on move 28.
Ajibowo had a complex game with Ansha Thompson in a Ruy Lopez opening and on move 27, the Nigerian made a Rook sacrifice which the Ghanaian could not hold on to and conceded defeat in a highly entertaining end game of Rooks and white Bishop.
Kigigha won on board three against Bonsu Bempa while Campbell drew against Williams Hrogendijk in the last game. The fifth member of the men’s team, Bunmi Olape was rested for today’s against Malta.
In the women’s category, Oluwatobi Olatunji caused the major upset of the day with a massive win against Grand Master Sabure Tuduestso of Angola in one of the round five games.
The Nigerian, playing on top board with no international rating and making her first appearance on the world stage, proved her better positional display in Queen’s Gambit opening by not castling and brought the game to a ruthless conclusion on move 28 to the amazement of chess enthusiast at the Urgra Arena.
Another Olympiad debutant, Funmi Akinola followed suit on board three against Sabure Outiretse in a one-sided proceeding of Ruy Lopez to give Nigeria a 2-0 lead which they failed to hang on to after the experienced duo of Rachael Dappa and Rosemary Amadasun allowed their respective opponent’s easy wins over them to leave the final score at 2-2.
Amadasun, with visible board advantage, gave the tie to Angolan teenager, Mokgacha Keitumetse, after failing to meet the mandatory time control of 40 moves. While Dappa, with several mating options allowed Lopang Tshepiso to escape from the trouble with a passed pawn in a long end game.
The 11 round Swiss-event paring tournament will end on 3rd of October with Nigeria still very much in contention for category medal ranking.
The men’s team at the last edition in Dresden, Germany secured silver in category E, improving on their bronze medal win at the 2006 Olympiad held in Turin, Italy.