Nigerian singer, David ‘Barzini’ Nwobodo is the first Nigerian to ever promote the game of chess among students and youths through music, as he recently convened the ‘Barzini King’s Opening’ chess tournament which ended on Sunday, August 1.
With this innovation, the 28-year-old’s vision was to boost mental acuity among Nigerian students and youths, through the fusion of chess and music, the first-of-its-kind initiative in the nation.
The tournament, which he organized in collaboration with the Orchid Lekki Chess Club (OLCC) and MacDaniel & Friends Initiative, started with a first leg on Saturday, July 24 at the Akanu Ibiam Stadium, the University of Nigeria Nsukka where Nwankwo Obinna Daniel emerged winner in the male category and Okeke Bianca Ngozi emerged winner in the female category. All winners in different categories and special recognitions were rewarded with cash prizes.
In Lagos, the tourney took place physically in Lekki and on the online platform, Lichess, in nine rounds with 10-minute time control. International Masters Oluwafemi Balogun and Odion Aikhoje, FIDE masters Abimbola Osunfuyi, Abdulrahman Akintoye and Bomo Kinghiga, Candidate Master Isaac Okeke, Woman FIDE Master Perpetual Ogbiyoyo were spotted at the tourney. The event culminated in victory for “Botfavour”, while Abimbola Osunfuyi and “Wasted Talent” emerged second and third place winners respectively. All winners including special winners best U2200 “Pamboy27”, best U2000 “Justcy” and lucky numbers were rewarded with cash prizes.
The self-funded charity tournament successfully ended with the release of a chess-themed album, “Beloved, Vol. 2 (The King’s Opening)” in line with the tourney’s theme which mandated white to play e4, The King’s Opening, as the first move in all the games. This, according to convener Barzini, is a tribute to former world chess champion Bobby Fischer who described this popular and oldest opening as “Best by Test”.
“Fischer’s attitude towards excellence in chess inspired me a lot while organizing this tournament and making the album, I had him in mind all through the process”, Barzini had told Leadership newspaper.
As an active member of the Orchid Lekki Chess Club in Lagos, Nigeria, Barzini is an avid promoter of chess and hopes the poetry of the beautiful game will come to appeal to more young people in the country.
Speaking on his vision for the tournament and its impact following the successful debut, Barzini said,
“I hope to make this tournament an annual one. Chess is a sport that requires and boosts critical thinking hence I desire that more young people in Nigeria pick interest in the game enough to benefit from it”.