9th July, 2012
Nigeria chess player, Nonso Oragwu, has confessed that the country will find it difficult to excel at the forthcoming Chess Olympiad scheduled to for Istanbul, Turkey.
Five players each in the male and female categories will represent Nigeria at the Chess Olympiad. The male players who made the list are; Dapo Adu, Bomo Kigigha, Nonso Oragwu, Femi Balogun, and Yinka Adeshina, while Tobi Olatunji, Nsisong Bassey, Funmi Akinola, Vivian Dzaayem, and Blessing Davies are to play in the female category.
Due to marital obligations, Mrs. Funmi Akinola and Mrs. Blessing Davies were dropped and were replaced by Mrs. Doris Adebayo and Alexis Oluchi.
Oragwu told P.M.Sports in Lagos that he and his colleagues will try their best, but urged Nigerians not to blame them if they fail to win the tourney.
He noted that lack of regular competitions and failure to play in the FIDE rated international tournament may affect their performance in Istanbul.
“I must confess that the Chess Olympiad will be a tough tourney for us because we are going to meet players from countries such as Russia, Armenia, Ukraine and USA, who enjoy regular competitions in their respective nations. Nigeria will find it difficult to emerge winners but all I know is that we will give our best to ensure that we perform well,” he said.
In her own comment, Nsisong Bassey remains optimistic that she will have a good outing despite the challenges facing the players. She admitted that Nigeria will confront stiff opposition but believes that with determination, they can overcome the task ahead.
Meanwhile, the Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament, in which teams from all over the world compete against for honours. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation. The last Olympiad was held in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
After the tournament in Turkey, Tromso, Norway will host the next edition. The first Olympiad took place in Paris, France in 1924, where 16 nations participated. The last edition featured 143 nations, 1294 competitors, with no fewer than 254 grandmasters, 65 WGMs, 159 IMs, and 90 WIMs.