The 2nd Israel Nwanganga Invitational Chess Event for Juniors aged 15 and under has been held at the Chevron Recreation Centre, Gbagada, on November 18 and 19 2023 with winners going home with various generous cash and other prizes.
The event, which was sponsored by Mr. Marizu Nwokoma (fondly called Rizu), is, according to the sponsor, part of an opportunity to give back to society due to his love for the game of chess and his desire to give young Nigerians access to the numerous benefits of the game.
Rizu, in a statement, said that his chess background has helped him a lot in decision-making in his career as well as in his personal life, especially in terms of “how to strategize, how to develop a vision, how to be agile, etc.,” and he wants young Nigerians to have the same opportunity to grow their strategic and decision-making skills through chess.
The other inspiration for the tournament, he said, is his father, “Mr. Israel Nwanganga, who unfortunately passed away at the age of 84. Israel had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease before his death.” Given that the disease affects the brain, Rizu had thought of the need to sponsor a chess tournament, since the chess game helps to nurture the brain. He therefore started and named the tournament after his father.
There were a total of 46 participants in this edition of the event – 23 in the under 10 years category and 23 in the 11 to 15 years category.
10 year-old Nwankwo Chiamaka (the highest rated player in the tournament and a national player at the highest level of chess in Nigeria who is also an ambassador of Edubanc Sterling Bank) and her junior brother, 8-year old Nwankwo Somtochukwu Jason, both of Marvelvine Montessori School, emerged the overall champions in their respective categories. They both concluded the tournament with an impressive 5.5 points each out of a possible 6 points, solidifying their dominance in their age groups.
Chiamaka triumphed in the 11-15 years old category. Adepoju Ayomide, the second-highest rated player in the 11-15 years age group, secured an overall second position, clinching the top spot in the Boys category. Emilola Adekunle, Adeyemi Adesire, Audu Jonah, and Ogundare Tumise shared the second position in the same category, with Obe Amir earning the Best U12 prize.
In the girls’ category, Patrick Floresaint and Aanuoluwayimika Adepoju secured the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively, while Odafe-Efemuai Ajibola claimed the Best U12 girl prize.
In the Under 10s, Somtochukwu claimed the top spot. Agusionu Kevin and Agusionu Zita secured the 2nd and 3rd positions, while a thrilling tie for the 4th and 5th positions featured Ibok Abasionu Samuel, Edward Peculiar, Azeez Maruf, Evbuomwan Victoria, and Dafiewharen Divine.
All the winners were awarded generous cash prizes. Also, all participating players were awarded brand new chess sets and certificates.
This initiative not only celebrates young talents but also underscores the commitment of the sponsor towards fostering and promoting the game of chess at the grassroots level.
The overall success of the event highlights the growing enthusiasm and and abundant talents within the local chess community, setting the stage for future competitions and inspiring a new generation of strategic minds.
Rizu, the main sponsor of the event, is a General Manager with Chevron Nigeria Limited. The tournament was co-sponsored by Knead To Rise Baked Goods (an at home bakery).
Participants at the Israel Nwanganga Invitational Chess Event for Juniors aged 15 and under