Officials at the NB Plc chess press conference in Lagos
The annual Nigerian Breweries International Open Chess Championship received a major boost Wednesday following the upward review in the prizes in all the categories of play by the sponsor.
The 35th edition of the competition will commence next week at the Indoor Sports Hall of National Stadium in Lagos. At a crowded press conference held at the corporate headquarter of the company, the CSR/Sustainability Manager Mr. Vivian Nkem, who represented the Public Relations Adviser, said in line with the corporate social responsibility thrust of always winning with Nigeria, the company has in the last 34 years kept faith with the championship with the objective of encouraging the growth and development of the game of chess in Nigeria.
“We believe that we have largely succeeded in this noble objective given the high quality of participation and winners of this tournament over the years. We are indeed proud to be part of the success story of Nigerian chess which has produced winners who have gone ahead to represent our country at international competitions.
“The sterling performances of our past winners in these international competitions have convinced us that the Nigerian Breweries International Open Chess competition is a worthy venture,” he explained.
The total prize money for the last edition was N945, 000 as against the N1, 575, 000 and the play in all the categories will start on July 2 to 7. Over 500 participants from all the 36 states and registered chess clubs will participate in the five-day tournament.
The winner in the FIDE section will take home N250, 000 as against N200, 000 wining prize of last year. Other corporate gift items would be given to all the winners in all the seven categories of play namely the FIDE section, Opens one and two, Female category, Under 14 Boys and Girls, Veteran section and the Sports Writers’ category.
In his response, the Nigerian Chess Federation (NCF) President, DCP Sani Mohammed, who was represented by Mr. Femi Solaja, commended Nigerian Breweries for the 35 years of unbroken sponsorship of the competition.
He urged other sponsors to emulate the sterling quality of the company for the best interest of the youths of the nation.
According to him, “Our partnership over the years in the development of chess in Nigeria has continued to yield positive results. Chess in Nigeria today has made tremendous progress from a relative modest status of a game played between a few friends in the early seventies to one that not only attracts participation in tournaments of thousands of players and spectators but has grown into our homes and institutions as a favourite sport and pastime of the intellectually inclined.”
“The Nigerian team to the forth coming World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey continues to map out strategies for the world event, this edition of the Nigerian Breweries Chess competition coming up at this time of the year provides a veritable opportunity for all the players and coaches to prepare adequately and better our performance at the last event in Russia,” he said.
International Master Bunmi Olape is the defending champion of the 9-round Swiss event paring tournament that will also attract the likes of Rear Admiral Jubil Ayinla (rtd), Theophilus Caifias and Dave Erhabor all former leaders of the in country participating in the veteran section.