University of Lagos Proves Chess Supremacy, Wins Ecobank Tournament 2024: Masterminds in the Making

  • May 30, 2024, 1:17 p.m.
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By: Stella Mmeka The University of Lagos and the University of Benin showcased their exceptional chess skills and teamwork at the first Ecobank National Schools’ Team Chess Championship in Lagos. Dominating the tertiary school category, the University of Lagos emerged victorious, claiming the top spot and the coveted title. The University of Benin secured second place, while Chess in Slums Africa took third, and the University of Ibadan finished in fifth position. Held at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Victoria Island, Lagos, from May 24th to 26th, 2024, the championship aimed to promote intellectual development, teamwork, and sportsmanship among university students. It provided a platform to identify and nurture young chess talents, with teams of five players each representing their schools in a thrilling display of strategic thinking and mental prowess. The round-robin format saw teams competing in a series of matches, overseen by a team of experienced chess players and judges to ensure fair play and adherence to international chess rules. This year's competition featured a thrilling battle among 26 universities, including the University of Lagos, University of Benin, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Lagos State University of Science and Technology, Federal University Oye Ekiti, Niger Delta University, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, Lagos State University, University of Nigeria, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Redeemers University, University of Abuja, University of Jos, Dominican University Ibadan, Fountain University Osogbo, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Lagos State University of Education Oto Ijan, Covenant University, Gombe University, First Technical University, Federal University of Lokoja, and Federal University of Technology Minna. Senator John Owan Enoh, the Minister of Sports, made a heartwarming statement, praising the students' resilience and determination. "This represents the Nigerian 'Can Do' spirit," he remarked, commending their efforts and cheering them on. This year’s competition saw remarkable growth, with over 250 schools participating, a notable achievement for the Nigerian Chess Federation. The unwavering support from Ecobank has also been instrumental in the development of chess in Nigeria. A total of 118 primary schools, 86 secondary schools, and 42 tertiary institutions, including 26 universities, competed for prizes totaling over N15 million. The three-day tournament witnessed intense competition, showcasing the players' skill, creativity, and sportsmanship. The event concluded with a resounding quote from Bolaji Lawal, Managing Director/Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, who said, "The winners here today are rising stars." This stamp of conviction highlights the evident success and excitement for the undergraduate students who found the tournament fulfilling and thrilling. The Ecobank National Schools’ Team Chess Championship has once again proven to be a significant event in promoting chess and fostering a spirit of excellence among young Nigerian students. The University of Lagos's victory is a testament to the growing chess culture and the bright future of intellectual sports in the country.