Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chess and the Nigerian Situation

The game was played between the Federal Government of Nigeria (as white) and the Nigerian masses (who regrettably was represented by NLC/TUC, as black). White opened by pushing e4 (declaring removal of fuel subsidy on the 1st of January 2012). This move was not expected by black who had thought that white was going to play c4 (flank opening) based on older games. Black therefore had to take a while to respond to white’s move. Black responded with e5 on the 9th of January. Considering the situation on board, it was the best response to white’s opening move as it meant a head-to-head approach to the game, a fight for the centre. Many commentaries were run on TV, Radio, Newspapers and social networking sites. Many of the predictions were in favour of white, 1-0, while others predicted a draw but there was no prediction of a win for black. The game continued for 5 days with so much vigour and exuberance from black while white hoped to cash in on his “first-to-move” advantage as well as his positional (authority) advantage. Black on the other hand drew upon all his goodwill, knowledge of white’s tendencies, courage and determination towards the game. At the end of the 5th day, the representative of the masses began to lose stamina and negotiated with white (who initiated the negotiation). Black was urged to rest/refresh for the weekend and suspend the game to continue on Monday, the 16th of January to allow the representatives broker a good deal for the game and if white was unyielding, the game was to be continued on the 16th of January. 

Negotiations went on for long hours and many of black’s fans were quite expectant of a good deal. White was expected to give a speech on the night of Sunday, the 15th of January at 9pm which should give information to the audience about the outcome of the negotiation but White did not show up and kept the audience in suspense till they all slept off. They only woke up to the announcement that the game has been agreed to a draw to the advantage of white (white took home the trophy). Black also announced on Monday morning that he would not be showing up at the game venue and also urged his fans to stay home as white had deployed armed personnel to the various locations where the game was being watched. This move by white also changed the dynamics of the game and there was clear intimidation of all black fans and supporters. It was later learnt that black had given in to white’s threats and lures.

During my public opinion gathering, I found out that quite a number of black’s fans were irked by his withdrawal from the game. Some believed it was prearranged to go that way (like a script being acted out). They reasoned that the representative was given too much to handle and was not mentally and physically strong to persist for a long term game. They openly advised that the representative should not be given to NLC/TUC for subsequent games. Many of the fans opined that black would have won against white if the representative had not given in. However, they were quite encouraged with the turnout of their members who showed solidarity to the black’s club. They however mourned the loss of a few of their men who were brutally taken down by white’s men. They were deemed heroes of the struggle.

From what I gathered, members of black’s club are re-strategizing and preparing for another game which is scheduled to hold later this year, next year, two years’ time or three years’ time at a maximum.

This is Mary Achor-Ogungbola reporting for Chessheights .

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