With just two rounds left to play, top Nigerian chess players have dropped out in the ranking at the on-going African Individual Chess Championship holding at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.
Although Nigerian players showed shade of genius in the battle field as the tournament reached its climax on Sunday night, the Egyptian who are higher rated players dominate play with Adly Ahmed (African number 2) and Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda leading the pack of other players in both Open and Women sections.
Both have consolidated their lead in the competition, as every win counts to games 4 and 5.
WGM Wafa trounced her Angolan opponent, Woman International Master Esperanca Caxita, in a Sicilian opening with black mostly dominating the game right from the middle play.
The Egyptian WGM is all but a massive one point ahead of the pack leading into the final rounds starting this morning.
While the Egyptian masters are dominating play, credit also goes to some Nigerians raising their heads to be counted. Nigeria Youth Games product, Onoja Iyefu Joy continues to show resilience and determination to earn her first chess title and create a record while at it.
She had on Saturday continued her fine run of form by scoring an entire point against Paulo Jemima to register the second position on the ranking table with 9 points. A win in the 7th round will help Joy secure a Woman International Master Title.
WIM (elect) Ofowino Toritsemuwa bettered her AICC Tunisia 2019 record, and she is bound to create a new one as she takes on WGM Wafa in the seventh round.
Toritsemuwa currently shares second place with her compatriot, Iyefu Onoja, both holding 4.5 points, hence making the 7th game point as crucial for the player.
In the Open section, 20-year-old Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus is pulling his weight. He scored an outstanding 4.5 points after six games, but it is not about the score, somewhat the opponents; defeating 1 GM, 2 IMs, and three draws against two IMs and FM, the youngster will get his chance at GM Adly in the seventh round.
With a half point behind the tournament leader, African Number 1–GM AminBassem landed his second consecutive win after the drawn game with compatriot GM Ahmed Adly, demonstrating he still stands a chance to catch up and maybe win the tournament.
Bassem faces IM David Silva of Angola in the seventh round, who had to offer a draw to his opponent in the sixth round due to health issues. We hope he’s gotten his strength back for this crucial game.
The tournament ends tomorrow with Maltina and Gulder are among the top sponsor of the event.