Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian President, World Chess Federation (FIDE) has offered to sponsor five Nigerians every year to study chess and any other course in Russian universities from September, 2014.
IIyumzhinov who was on an official visit to Nigeria, made the offer on Sunday in Abuja.
Ilyumzhinov also promised to donate chess equipment, textbooks and sponsor seminars for Nigerian trainers, as part of efforts to boost the development of the sport in the country.
Commissioner of Police, Sani Mohammed and a former President of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), said police schools across the federation would leverage on the opportunity.
“Nigeria police has 67 primary and secondary schools and chess has started in the schools already, and whatever support we get we will like to replicate,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Omuku, a former FIDE Vice President also welcomed the commitment of the FIDE president, saying it will go a long way to boost the sport.
Also speaking, Mr Odion Aikhoje, the 1998 Nigerian gold medalist at the World Chess Olympiad in Elista, Russia, expressed delight on the commitment of FIDE president to support chess players in the country.
“After my achievement in 1998 where I won the gold medal at the chess Olympiad, we have not had the opportunity for other chess players to replicate the efforts because of funds to attend international events.
“This foundation which FIDE president says he will support is a wonderful idea, that will create funds to take care of people who want to develop their chess at the international level.
“It is going to be of great assistance to the Nigeria Chess Federation,” he said.
Aikhoje also commended the FIDE president for his love for the game and his personal interest in the development of chess in Africa.
He said that Nigeria has recorded an increase in the number of international referees and arbiters due to extensive support by FIDE.
According to him, the number of internationally rated Nigeria players currently stood at more than 500.
Ilyumzhinov’s one-day visit to Nigeria was part of his tour of African countries. Source: PM News