Nigeria’s Chess Community Joins the Rest of the World to Mark Chess Day

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By Femi Solaja

As Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE), marks its year of foundation which has been transformed to World Chess Day, the Nigerian chess community will not be left out in the marking of the day this morning.

The World Chess body was founded in Paris, France on July 20th, 1934 with motto ‘Gens una sumus’ a Latin word for “We are one people” and till date with 190 members and as far back as 1999, is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

To celebrate the International Chess Day, today , top chess personalities, including the FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, and Hou Yifan, will take part in a high-level virtual event tagged “Chess for Recovering Better”.

Reports available to THISDAY yesterday, indicate that the event will be attended by United Nations and government officials, permanent missions to the UN, representatives of civil society, academia, and other relevant stakeholders. It will be broadcast live by the UN, and also on FIDE’s Youtube Channel.

In Nigeria, which happens to be one of the leading pillars of the sport both in competition and political terrain, foremost chess club in the country, Orchid-Lekki Chess Club, has put forward a Zoom meeting tagged “Nigerian Chess Now and Beyond” with the panel of discussant including the President of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) and Vice President of the World body, Mr. Lekan Adeyemi, former NCF boss and pioneer Scribe of the body, Dr Sylvanus Ebigwe, President of Chess Players Association of Nigeria (CPAN) Ayokanmi Ajayi, FIDE Master Adebayo Adegboyega, International Master Daniel Anwuli and Olakunle Kasumu, the representative of Orchid-Lekki Chess Club are all panellist of the event.

Aside the Zoom meeting, the players’ association, CPAN, has also put forward a three-way event spread over the week including Online puzzle show to be hosted by National Master Olawale Oyeleye on the players’ association’s FaceBook page and participants stand the chance to win N500 for every puzzle solved.

Among other programmes lined up is the ‘After event Party’ that will follow on Saturday after a main chess tournament to be organised by the club.

But at the global scene, the meeting, according to the President of FIDE, aims at providing a platform to discuss the unique capabilities leveraged by chess in supporting social cohesion, equality, and inclusion, with a focus on COVID-19 response and recovery efforts for building back better.

“Globally, chess is recognized as a powerful tool for promoting the values of discipline, equality, respect for rules, and mutual understanding. In 2019, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 74/22 under agenda items “Sport for development and peace” and “Culture of peace”, designating the 20th of July as World Chess Day,” he stated.

FIDE has been celebrating the International Chess Day since 1966, following a recommendation of UNESCO. The date marks the establishment of the International Chess Federation, which was founded during the Paris 1924 Summer Olympics.