The Ethno Festival Games Intellectual Games competitions was another first in history, which saw representation from a record number of countries. 35 countries, 59 competitors in all, including 14 from Afrika, with 7 coming from countries which traditionally play Oware. Participants took part in the Intellectual Games disciplines of Oware and Toguz Korgool. It also saw the Cape Verdean team rightly demonstrate their dominance, and place them on the Oware map.
The Ethno Festival Games Male Oware Championships was truly a sight to behold, with participants from 27 countries, 11 from Afrika. A colourful sight to see, with each competitor, competing in their national dress.
For most competitors it was a first taking part in an international competition, a true baptism of fire. However overall the newcomers to the international scene did very well medaling & even winning the Men’s Oware Championship. For those in the know. it looked like it was a foregone conclusion, with the dominance of Grandmaster Gordon Akrugu from Ghana established at the 3rd WNG last year in Kyrgyzstan and the absence of Grandmaster Trevor Simon from Antigua & Barbuda and fellow Ghanaian Grandmaster Ayirugu Azasemi. What made close observers so sure of his victory, was his total obliteration of the newcomer (young pretender) Edmilson Jorge Tavares Semedo of Cape Verde in friendly games prior to the competition. All that was to be established by the competition was whether any of he newcomers especially from West Afrika could topple Anarbek Dzhamakeev of Kyrgyzstan from third place.
What a surprise it turned out to be. First of all Anarbek Dzhamakeev was able to hold on to third position, well done to him. The battle for 1st & 2nd position, oh what a surprise it turned out to be. The results an upturning of the tables, a shocking outcome. What was considered a foregone conclusion reversed, with Edmilson Jorge Tavares Semedo beating Gordon Akrugu, toppling him from the top spot to win the championship. Placing Cape Verde on the Oware map in the first international outing of a non-diasporan Cape Verdean, and Edmilson by his own admission admitting that he was not even the best player in Cape Verde.
What a turn of events, utter shock, for in friendly games Gordon Akrugu had beaten Edmilson 10 - 2 in some matches. What I can say is that this bodes well for future International & World Oware Championships to come. For it promises more excitement, upsets and stronger players to come. To current grandmasters this competition has put you on notice