Marvelvine Montessori, Others Win Ecobank’s National Schools Team Chess Championship

May 29, 2024
Marvelvine Montessori

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Over the weekend, DaySpring School, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), and Marvelvine Montessori School, all in Lagos, emerged winners of the 2024 Ecobank National Schools’ Teams Chess Competition.

The event, which took place at the Pan African Centre in Lagos,

The chess competition, which has been described as the largest gathering of chess players in Africa, attracted over 1200 players from over 250 schools across 18 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Vice President of the Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), Mr Adeyinka Adewole, expressed excitement that the championship introduced last year when the International Chess Federation (ICF) started the World Schools Team Chess Championship has grown in leap and bounds.

He noted that the 2024 edition attracted over 1200 participants, describing NCF’s partnership with Ecobank as a shining example of the public-private partnership needed to advance sports in Nigeria.

“About 118 primary schools, 86 secondary schools, and 42 tertiary institutions participated and jostled for prizes of over N15 million at the three-day tournament between Friday 24th and Sunday 26th at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Victoria Lagos.

“At the end of the highly competitive tournament, the University of Lagos came tops in the tertiary school category and was followed by the University of Benin and Chess in Slums Africa (CISA) while DaySpring School, Platforms School, Ireti Senior Grammar School came first, second and third respectively in the secondary school category.

“For the Primary school category, Marvelvine Montessori School came first while Scholars Academy, Ibadan was second best and followed by Okikioluwa Junior in the third position,” he stated.

Further, he said, “When we introduced this Championship last year, only 15 schools participated but today we have over 250 schools. This is a remarkable accomplishment for us in the Nigeria Chess Federation, and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the unwavering support of Ecobank.

“We’re deeply grateful for Ecobank’s generous support and unwavering commitment to empowering young minds and fostering intellectual growth. Your sponsorship has made this event possible, and your dedication to developing chess among Nigerian youth is truly commendable.”

He reiterated the federation’s delight in providing a platform for young participants to hone their skills and become world champions, stating that the championship is a celebration of strategic thinking, the relentless pursuit of excellence, and the future of Nigerian chess.

Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, said the decision of the bank to sponsor the Chess competition was to further showcase Ecobank’s commitment to supporting intellectual and sports development in Nigeria, being part of Ecobank’s strategic human capital development drive.

“The winners here today are ‘rising stars. And I must say this is in line with our objective of supporting children and youths as the next generation of changemakers.

“This sponsorship aligns with our overall long-term vision of building a world-class Pan-African bank that contributes to the economic and financial integration of the continent.

“We are also using the opportunity of this competition to introduce and empower them with convenient, affordable, and accessible digital financial services they can access anytime and anywhere they are.  Arrangements are in place to make our partnership an annual event, as it is exciting and fulfilling for both the children and undergraduate students,” he stated.

In his comment, the Minister of Sports, Mr John Owan Enoh, represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Sports Liaison Office in Lagos, Ms Ikana Mbora, said the ministry is proud of the NCF. He commended the students for their resilience and determination to win as “this represents the Nigerian can-do spirit”.

It would be recalled that Platform Schools, Ikeja, Lagos emerged as the national champion at the first National Schools Team Chess Championship held last year earning the honour of representing Nigeria at the World Schools Team Chess Championship in Kazakhstan.

The Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) is the national governing body for chess in Nigeria. It was established in 1975 and is responsible for promoting, regulating and developing chess in Nigeria.

The NCF is a federation under the Federal Ministry of Sport Development, and it is affiliated with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and follows its rules and regulations.

The objectives of the NCF include organizing national and international chess tournaments, training and selecting chess players to represent Nigeria in international competitions, and promoting the game of chess at all levels, from grassroots to elite.

The NCF organizes various chess events throughout the year and has also been successful in producing strong chess players who have represented Nigeria in international tournaments. These players have achieved notable successes, including winning medals in the African Chess Championships and participating in Chess Olympiads.

Aduragbemi Omiyale

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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