Women Triumph in Chess Tournament

The Richard Asibor Chess Memorial

The edition of The Richard Asibor Chess Memorial took place from the 24th to the 28th of January, 2024 at the Chevron Recreational Centre, Gbagada, Lagos State, Nigeria.

The event was kicked off with a 9-round Blitz tournament event featuring over 46 players in total.

The Blitz tournament was won by Lapite, Oluwadurotimi Opeoluwa. Known to be a slow player, Lapite proved the most important factor of the game is the quality of the moves you make.

Lapite, Oluwadurotimi Opeoluwa | Photo by Othims

Coming on a tied 2nd place was Ofubu, Sampson and Edet, Udeme Dominic

The Classical tournament began the day after. It featured two categories based on Fide ratings — u2000 and o2000.

The o2000 section was pretty exciting with most of the top players in Nigeria in participation.

The u2000 section, turned out to be the most exciting part, however, as the female participants dominated the males in a way that had yet to be seen in Nigerian Chess.

6 out of the top 11 finishers were all females.

A Change in the Landscape of Chess

Ever since I was introduced to the competitive Chess scene, men have always dominated the sport. In mixed events like this, the females hardly had a chance for top prizes and to encourage their participation, female category prizes were usually set in place.

In recent times, however, there has been a visible change in that Landscape. More and more females are proving to be capable of taking on the males head-on.

Not only from this tournament but we can see from the global scene

  • Ju Wenjun’s World Championship Victory and her participation in the Tata Steel tournament. She proved from the tournament she could hold her own against some of the top players in the world, even going on the beat GM Alireaza Firouja, and drawing against the Current Classical world champion GM Ding Liren – becoming the first Women’s World champion not to lose to the reigning World Champion.
  • Women’s Grandmaster Titles as well. The increasing number of women achieving Grandmaster titles in chess demonstrates the growing pool of talent and dedication among female players.

Players like Judit Polgar, Hou Yifan, and Humpy Koneru have achieved the highest level of recognition in the chess world, inspiring other female players to pursue their dreams and excel in the game.

On the local scene, we have the likes of

  • WFM Perpetual Ogbiyoyo 2x National Champion, showing great skills over the Chessboard as the strength gap between the males and females gets ever closer.
  • 11-year-old Prodigy Deborah Ebimobo-Ere, Quickpen from Bayelsa. She is the reigning Nigerian Female National Chess Champion, the youngest ever to achieve the national title.
Quickpen playing the Round 2 of the 2023 WIM Norm Tournament at Cresta Lodge. Photo source: Botswana Chess Federation via Facebook
  • Iyefu, Joy

Just to mention a few …

Celebrating the Winners

We celebrate all winners of the tournament both in the Masters and u2000 section

  • FM Eyetonghan, Denyefa Callistus emerged clear first in the o2000 section with 6/7 points.
  • Oyepitan, Joshua Ayodeji tied for first in the u2000 section with a strong 6/7 points and was awarded champion of the category based on the tie-break system
  • WFM Perpetual Ogbiyoyo also tied for first place in the u2000 section with 6/7 points and was awarded the best female of the competition.
Champions of The 2nd Richard Asibor Chess Tournament | Photo by Othims

Promoting Queens congratulates all the ladies who participated in this event. The event had over 15+ female participants. It is highly encouraging to see more ladies willing to fight over the 64 square.

We celebrate the top 10 female victors

  • WFM Perpetual Ogbiyoyo tied for first place with 6/7 points – 5 wins and 2 draws. In recent years, Perpetual has proven to be one of the strongest players and leading forces of female Chess in Nigeria. Her first major spotlight came when she first represented Nigeria at the 2018 World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. There she finished with 6/7 and earned the Woman Fide Master title. Ever since then, she has gone on to win 2 National Championships. And has represented Nigeria in The African Games 2019 held in Egypt, as well as in the 44th Chess Olympiad (2022) held in Chennai, India.
WFM Perpetual Ogbiyoyo | Photo by Chief Whales Chess Media
  • Tieing for 2nd place Joy, Iyefu another gifted player in the female chess scene. Joy Iyefu has been a star from a very young age. She has won a handful of chess tournaments and represented Nigeria in the 44th Chess Olympiad (2022) held in Chennai, India.
Onoja, Iyefu Joy | Photo by Chief Whales Chess Media
  • Suleiman Azumi Ayisha, Ofowino Toritsemuwa, Michael Bridget, & Quickpen Deborah Ebimobo-Ere all finished on 5/7, one point below the tournament winners with their final positions on the table being 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th respectively as a result of the tiebreak system.

A truly remarkable result as this is the first the we have seen the ladies dominate this much in an open field.

This wonderful performance and an incredible display of strength from the ladies will inspire future generations of female players to pursue their passion for the game.

Empowering Women Through Chess

Chess has emerged as a powerful tool for empowering women and promoting gender equality in various ways. Firstly, it provides a level playing field where gender differences become irrelevant, allowing women to compete on equal footing with men.

The 2nd Richard Asibor chess tournament stands as a significant milestone in the progress of women in chess.

The remarkable outcome of having six women in the top ten positions, with two female players tying for first and second place, highlights the growing strength and competitiveness of female players.

This achievement not only celebrates the talent and skill of these female players but also demonstrates that women can excel and compete at the highest levels of chess.

But while significant progress has been made in closing the gender gap in chess, it is essential to acknowledge that challenges still exist. Historically, chess has been dominated by men, leading to a lack of representation and recognition for female players.

However, the increasing visibility and success of women in chess tournaments both locally and globally are positive indicators of progress toward a more inclusive and diverse chess community.

Join the Movement in Empowering Women through Chess

Promoting Queens was founded to see more and more women dominate the chess scene, we recognize the transformative power of chess in empowering women and promoting gender equality.

By providing resources, support, and opportunities for female players, Promoting Queens seeks to level the playing field and create a more inclusive and diverse chess community where women can thrive and excel. Through advocacy, outreach, and strategic partnerships, Promoting Queens is committed to breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and fostering a culture of gender equality in chess and beyond.

We encourage readers to join the movement in empowering women through chess and to advocate for greater inclusivity and diversity at all levels of the chess community. Whether as players, coaches, organizers, or supporters, everyone has a role to play in promoting gender equality in chess and creating a more inclusive and diverse chess community.

By championing initiatives that prioritize female participation, supporting female players, and challenging gender stereotypes, we can collectively work towards a future where women are equally represented, respected, and celebrated in the world of chess.

You can support the movement by clicking here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *