Liberia Gets New Chess Champion


Wesley Obey, commonly known as Liberia’s Magnus Carlsen (the Norwegian chess player ranked world's number one) was formally crowned and medaled as Liberia's Chess Champion at a brief but glittering award ceremony immediately after a dat-long chess tournament among more than 22 national chess players on Saturday in Monrovia.

Liberia’s chess veteran and banker Tamba Kollie presented the newly Liberia number one rank chess player with a dazzling bronze medal with drawing of the King, Queen and a Pawn and a check of US$100 at the Ballroom of the Grand Royal Hotel in Sinkor.  1st runner-up Arnold Smith received US$75 and the 3rd winner Daniel Kolliemehn got US$50.

Wesley became the first player to be crowned as chess champion at the end of a well-attended chess tournament since the cessation of the Liberia Chess Federation in the early 2000s.

This event, which saw players from the Bushrod Island, Somalia Drive, Sinkor and Paynesville, was climaxed with two Liberian chess players who participated in chess tournaments at the Buduburam Refugee Camp and in Accra, Ghana.

Wesley Obey reached the finals when he defeated Daniel Kolliemelen, 2-0, making maximum use of his bishops, knights and mighty queen.

Wesley participated in the Buduburam Open Chess Competition and won twice consecutively, 2005 and 2006.

Upon his return to home, he participated in the 2013 Gardnersville Open Chess Tourney and was crowned Gardnersville Chess Champion.

For his part, Arnold Smith reached the finals to meet Obey when he introduced the power of the trickery inletting-go of the pawn to grasp the superior.

He pinned Martin Dunbar 2-1, in a best-out-of three matches.

Smith participated in the 2012 Accra Open Chess Competition and emerged 4the place.

The final ‘best-out-of-three’ games started excitedly with over 40 eyes over the two players.  Both players attempted to trade pawns and their light-squared bishops, but Obey had the advantage to maneuver the pieces until a careless queen’s move from Smith ended the game.

In the second game, the Sicilian defense of Smith could not help him neither his trickery letting-go of the pawn. Lately, Obey was quicker to deviate a move by getting his light-squared bishop out to pin the white knight, which subsequently led to his victory.

Obey, on behalf of the players, extended his thanks and appreciation to the Gbelykwor University Foundation for what he termed as the ‘ultimate’ Monrovia Open Chess Tournament and wished that chess would be revived, promoted and developed in the country.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gbelykwor University Foundation, Emmanuel Wru-pour Cooper said the tourney was to celebrate Liberia’s decade of peace and to revive the game in the country.

He hailed former Deputy Public Works Minister Victor Smith who served as the tournament’s director for his collaboration as well as Godfrey Richards.

Meanwhile, a seven-man team was unanimously elected to serve as interim leadership to restore the Liberia Chess Federation.

Those elected were: Victor Smith, Chairman; Tamba Kollie, Co-chairman and Thomas Saah as Secretary General. Others included Financial Secretary Kemo Sambola, Treasurer Anthony Nimely, Chaplain Godfrey Richards and ex-officio Anthony Beah

Accordingly, the interim leadership is mandated to seek the constitution and by-laws from the former leadership, if it cannot be found, re-write a new constitution and by-laws, write the Ministry of Youth and Sports about the restoration of the Chess Federation and lead the federation to elections within 90 days.

“We’re grateful for the confidence reposed in us to serve as chairman and we want to assure the players and everyone of restoring the game in the country,” Chairman Smith told the Daily Observer.


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