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XX MSO Oware Tournament

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

The drama that unfolded in the XX MSO Oware Tournament made it just as exciting and successful as last year’s tournament. It was held on Saturday 21st August 2021 from 14:30 GMT, as part of the XV roster of mind sports tournaments, the 2nd to be hosted online on the playok platform. Unlike last year this tournament was competed over a 9 round Swiss System which lasted for 2.5 hours. It was a true test of mental agility and stamina.

Out of 100 registered players, 68 players from 26 countries made (Afrika 5, Aisa 6, Europe 12 and America 2) it through the sign up process to compete for the tournament title. Yet again new or players not familiar with playing tournaments on the playok platform fell victim to not making it in time to the tournament arena to be paired. At least 7 players persisted and eventually made it as observers from countries that had no representation: Ghana, Togo, and Ukraine.

Sign Up started 15 minutes before the start time and those players having difficulty were frantically seeking help with signing up. Some players got the timing wrong due to time difference and only made it in as observers an hour later. Some mistook the ashanti playing room for the tournament arena. It was such a shame we will that they take part in the next edition next year.

Commentary on the live stream was provided by Seth Bonti-Asamoah & Glenda Trew of the Oware Society and Tournament managers for this MSO tournament. Before the tournament started we had predicted based on the players rankings on playok & level of playing that Johnson Adeoye of Nigeria would win (Gold), with Seun Aiyedun as the runner up (Silver) and Amidou Fousseni of Benin the second runner up (Bronze). How wrong we were but not far off.

The pairings for round one as usual was a random affair being the beginning of the tournament. There were no surprising pairings. The beauty of these online championships & tournament is that lower ranked players have a chance of being paired with higher ranked (grandmaster & Master) players. The surprise ranking pairing in round one was probably between Harrison Kyagaba of Uganda & Akash Shah (MSO Oware bronze medallist from 2018).

This tournament as it turned out was full of drama and upsets. This did not go well for a few players, starting of with a grandmaster player: Robert Mensah of Ghana not being able to make it into the tournament arena in time, but eventually doing so as an observer. To Grandmaster Aiyedun Seun missing and losing his 3rd round match due to him leaving the tournament arena to the ashanti room, mistaking that for the tournament room. He also lost his 6th round match to the eventual winner Amidou Fousseni of Benin without making a single move and running out of time, because he we confused as to what to do. Aiyedun Seun however did redeem himself by drawing with his compatriot 2nd placed Johnson Adeoye of Nigeria.

The upsets did not finish there, Johnson Adeoye suffered a defeat on time at the hands of Harrison Kyagaba of Uganda, the second time he has pulled of this feat, the first in a friendly match in the ashanti room that very week. In the penultimate round Amidou Fousseni the champion, was defeated in a gripping match by the favourite Johnson Adeoye.

Last year’s champion and runner up Yernur Mereshev and Serik Aktayev both from Kazakhstan, try as they may, and they certainly put up a fight could not repeat the previous year’s performance. Serik Aktayev faired better, coming in third and wining the bronze medal. Last year’s champion Yernur Mereshev came in 7th place.

The female players featured well with 16 players in total taking part. The top ranked player Aiturgan Mastabek of Kyrgyzstan placed just outside the medal positions in 4th place. Hana Kotinova of the Czech Republic did well to place 17th whilst she was simultaneously competing in another MSO tournament.

The juniors also did themselves proud. Daniel Cifuentes of Colombia, the Junior XX MSO Oware Champion (Gold Medallist) placed 18th overall. The runner up in the Junior category (Silver Medalist) Dalton Kukeera of Uganda placed 19th overall. The second runner up (Bronze Medallist Yujin Kwak of South Korea placed 20th overall.

In the middle ranks there were no surprises Akash Shah (aks18) 2018 Bronze Medallist of the UK had a sordid first three rounds. Losing to Sahoudatou Tegnami of Benin and drawing with abdu256. The lower ranks was dominated by light blue and green ranked players, who aren’t regulars to the ashanti room. Many are championship players, some from last years edition. It was welcome site to see them come back to compete in this years edition.

This was a fascinating competition to witness. The ups and downs and mishaps all contributed to make it an exciting tournament to behold. Many players were mentally battered and bruised, but better of for the learning experience. The participants are to be commended for the mental agility and stamina they demonstrated during the two and half or so hours the tournament lasted for.

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