Liberia: Chess Championship Hits Critical Point

One of the participating players   

The 2022 Liberia National Individual Chess Championship has hit a critical point after the defending National Champion Bobby Ballah was beaten by Joel Ebiekuta during a critical match in round 5 on December 13.

The match set the pace for the matches due this weekend and ultimately determine the next National Chess Champion. Going into Round 6 on Thursday, Joel topped the table with 5 points out of 5 rounds — the only player with a perfect score. 

He faced Harold Evans on Board 1 while former champion FM Barcon Harmon played Foday Kondoh on Board 2 and current champion Bobby Ballah was paired against a dangerous opponent in the person of former champion Thomas Saah. 

The games continue on December 16, with two rounds (7 & 8) in the UL Auditorium on Capitol Hill. A total of 11 rounds will be played with a Swiss Pairing System.

The Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) kicked off the ongoing National Individual Chess Championship on the University of Liberia (UL) Capitol Hill campus on Friday, December 9, 2022.

The LCF’s Classical National Individual Championship is the fourth event for this year’s chess activities.

The Federation has already completed the first three events for this year, which include the Club Team Championship (won by the Invincible Knights Chess Club), the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship (won by CM Anthony Waylea), and the 2022 National Blitz Chess Championship (won by Joel O. Ebiekuta). 

But the most important, which is the individual classical event, will determine the actual Chess Champion and Female Chess Championship of Liberia. This year’s championship is about the value of chess as an educational tool.

The 2022 National Chess Championship is the 5th edition of this premier chess event since the establishment of the Liberia Chess Federation in 2014. 

FM Barcon Harmon, James Tondo, Thomas Saah, and Bobby Ballah won 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2021 editions respectively. In November, the Liberia Chess Federation launched the 2022 National Chess Championship, which is being organized as a chess festival. 

In collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports with support from sponsors and partners, the Liberia Chess Federation is hosting the Championships which include all aspects and categories of the noble game. 

The winners (Open and Women Champions) will have first preference to represent Liberia at all major chess competitions next year. They will also become members of the LCF Executive Council.