Sicilian Adu Retains Crown, Inches towards GM Title

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Femi Solaja
International Master, Dapo Adu, wednesday extended his dominant postures on the continental chess scene by retaining the Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championship that was concluded wednesday in Accra, Ghana.

The Nigerian master, who won the title last year in Lome, Togo survived tough challenges from contenders is the West African sub-region including Nigeria. He has bagged a Grand Master norm stature for his feat.

The championship which was dominated by Nigerians, has reinforced the country’s position among the elite class in the continent.

It was the likes of Femi Balogun, Bomo Kigigha, Daniel Anwudili, Abimbola Ogunsuyi , Kenneth Odey and David Erhabor that followed the champions in the Nine round Swiss event pairing.

Adu, a veteran of several international championships now requires to earn two more Grand Master norms or win the forth coming African Individual Chess Championship or better still reach the famous 2500 elo rating to become the first Nigerian player to bag the prestigious GM title by FIDE.

“It has always been my dream to reach the height of a Grand Master title and to be the first man in the country is not my ambition because there are many aspiring good player. But my concern is the attainment of the title which I hope will come soon,” an elated Adu told THISDAY on telephone from Accra last night.

The champion’s quest for glory became more visible in the sixth round with an impressive result against hard-fighting FIDE Master Kigigha who deployed his pet line, the English opening in the encounter which lasted about five hours before a queen side assault delivered International Master Adu the full point.

”It takes years of play, practice and preparation. It also entails a lot of dedication, but the most important thing is for God to bless all these characteristics. That’s what makes the main difference because everyone prepare but not all get results,” he commented after the final game against Balogun which ended in a draw.

In a swift reaction to Adu’s feat, the President of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), Lekan Adeyemi said that it has been his wish for as many players as possible to improve their ratings and bag FIDE titles.

“Adu’s feat and domination of the championship by Nigerian players clearly showed the commitment our players who even sponsored themselves to the event have put into the sport,” he remarked.

The team arrived late yesterday and is expected to be hosted to a reception at the National Stadium Lagos today at the board room of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports. Eight players represented the country at the event.