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By Jide Alaka
March 25, 2010 02:57AM
Adebayo Babalola, a former national champion and Chess Master is about to relieve the good times as he leads a pack of players at the Chess Olympiad trial put together by the Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF). He is in a joint lead with other players after two rounds of games in the nine-round Swiss-type tournament.

Representing Lagos State, he sits atop the leader board with Ochuko Omuapkeje, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, Oluwole Oladele, Toyin Jegede and Olanrewaju Ajibola.

The trial will not see the likes of major players Adebayo Babalola and Bomo Kigigha who are absent from the event but the highest ranked player present, national champion, Bunmi Olape is yet to find a way with seven rounds to go.

In Tuesday matches, Babalola's opening gambit was playing in black side of King's pawn against Inimo Kigigha. He transposed the game into King's Indian defence and seized the advantage with move 15 and increased the tempo until move 30 when his opponent got at par but when an ambitious Kigigha pressed further for a win, he blundered on move 44 and had to resign after three moves on mate threat.

Debutant at the last World Chess Olympiad, Charles Campbell implored Nimzo Indian defence to check an ambitious Chima Ngebmena to a draw despite been a pawn up on move 27.Event-favourite, Olape is still struggling to get his bearing and had to settle for another draw against Olamide Ajibowo, a player on the rise.

Olape missed an opportunity to secure a massive advantage on move 21 in Sicilian defence (Nardjof variation). Ajibowo was a pawn up but both players had knights and with both in trouble, they settled for a draw.

In the female division, Rosemary Amadasun, Uwa Obasi Chekwas and Doris Adebayo lead the group with matches against one other coming in round three. This would determine the clear leader when the pairing for the next round is made.

The president of the chess federation, Sani Mohammed reinstated the fact that players that missed the on-going trial will not be given a wild card to join the race for the final stage which will come up next month. 84 out of the invited 118 players showed up for the trials.

Mohammed said: “We invited 64 male and 54 female for this stage of the trial but 56 and 28 male and female respectively showed up and some of the players requested for exemption. But like we did the last time, we have maintained the standards and we must not be seen as favouring certain players in the final selection of players to the world competition.”