It was an eventful day on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 as the Oyo State Chess Association honoured three Oyo State prominent chess personalities who have taken the game of Chess to greater heights with their achievements and impact both at the grassroots level and international stage.
The trio of Olalekan Adeyemi who is the current International Chess Federation (FIDE) Vice President, International Master (IM) Odion Aikhoje and FIDE Master Adegboyega Adebayo were given awards at the event that took place at Bamboo Towers, Bodija, Ibadan.
According to the Chairman of the Association, Iredele Ogunbayo, the association deemed it fit to celebrate these three heavyweights for their success and contributions to growth of chess in Nigeria.
“The three personalities are worthy of the awards, Olalekan Adeyemi is the FIDE Vice President, International Master (IM) Odion Aikhoje remains the only Nigerian to have won gold at the Chess Olympiad, which he won in Elista, Russia in 1998 while FIDE Master Adegboyega Adebayo won the National Chess Championship two weeks ago, so he is the reigning Chess Champion in Nigeria.
“These three are from Oyo State and they deserve to be celebrated. If we don’t celebrate our own, who will?” Iredele said.
Mr Olalekan Adeyemi was a former Oyo State Chess coach, Chairman Oyo State Chess Association and Nigeria National Chess coach. He also played field Hockey and Chess for Nigeria. He is currently the International Chess Federation Vice President.
He won the FIDE Master of Chess in 1996 before proceeding to win the FIDE International Master of Chess in 1998 and that made him an International Master in the game.
He achieved an unbelievable feat by winning an individual gold medal at the World Chess Olympiad in Elista, Russia in 1998, becoming the first and only Nigeria to achieve such a feat.
He was also named amongst Nigeria at 60 Sports Icon in 2020, a list compiled by the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare.
He got his first invite to the National team I’m 1996. Represented Nigeria at four Olympiads and seven continental championships. He owns the record as the first and only chess player to win three gold medals in the Open event at the National Sports Festival which he achieved in 1996 in Markurdi.
He has also won a total of six national titles, the most recent, he won two weeks ago in Lagos
The colorful event was graced by the presence of Nigeria Chess Federation Vice President, Prince Adeyinka Adewole, General Manager of the Oyo State Sports Council, Gboyega Makinde, Sports Council Director of Media and Communication, Tunde Ajibike, Executives of the Oyo State Chess Association, Captains of various Chess Clubs in the state and other personalities.