Deborah Quickpen: A Few Things to Know about the Nigerian Chess Prodigy

Nigeria’s chess prodigy Deborah Quickpen
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Deborah Ebimobo-Ere Quickpen, Nigeria’s number one chess prodigy and a 12-year-old Women’s Candidate Master, has captured the hearts of many with her incredible talent and achievements. Hailing from a humble background in Bayelsa, her journey to becoming a national and international chess sensation is nothing short of inspirational. 

On June 11, she will play a three-hour Chess match against Nigeria’s Chess sensation and Guinness World Record Holder, Tunde Onakoya.

“I have faced many tough opponents but this will undoubtedly be my hardest match yet. I can categorically say that she is the future of chess in Nigeria!”

Tunde Onakoya via Twitter.

A Few Things to Know about the Nigerian Chess Prodigy

Read into the life of a princess:

1. Humble Beginnings in Bayelsa

Born in 2012, Deborah Quickpen’s journey began in Bayelsa, where her family faced significant financial challenges. Her parents struggled to pay for her education, and at one point, she nearly dropped out of school due to these difficulties.

2. Early Start in Chess

Deborah started playing chess at the tender age of three. She was discovered by Bomo Kigigha, Nigeria’s current national chess champion, who has been her coach since then. Kigigha recognized her talent early on and has been instrumental in her development as a chess player.

Quickpen knows how to move her pen quickly, but she definitely moves her pieces quicklier (a little joke there, haha??).

3. Youngest Participant at the National Sports Festival

In 2018, Deborah made history by becoming the youngest athlete ever to represent Bayelsa State at the National Sports Festival. Her participation at such a young age highlighted her exceptional talent and determination.

4. Record-breaking Performance at the National Youth Games

Deborah’s prowess was further established when she won three gold medals at the National Youth Games. She made history by winning 18 of 18 games, a remarkable achievement.

5. African Youth Chess Champion

Deborah’s accomplishments reached international levels when she won the Under-10 African Youth Chess Championship in Accra, Ghana. This victory earned her the Woman Candidate Master title, making her the youngest Nigerian female player to receive this honour.

Deborah Quickpen with a Chess board
Deborah Quickpen with a Chess board

6. Appointed Youth Ambassador for Sports

At just 10 years old, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, appointed Deborah as the Youth Ambassador for Sports. This appointment was in recognition of her outstanding achievements and potential in chess. During a reception in her honour, Governor Diri praised her as a “worthy daughter of the state” and highlighted her as an example of dedication and excellence. 

Along with the ambassadorial appointment, Deborah received a scholarship to the university level, whether in Nigeria or abroad, and a four million naira cash gift.

7. Nigeria’s Female National Chess Champion

In 2023, at the age of 11, Deborah became Nigeria’s female national chess champion. This victory set a new record, making her the youngest national champion in the history of Nigerian chess. Her remarkable performance saw her finishing with 9.5 out of 11 games, overtaking the previous record set by Olatunji Oluwatobi, who won at 14.

8. Top-ranked Under-12 Female Chess Player

Deborah is currently the highest-ranked under-12 female chess player in Africa and ranks third in the world. This outstanding ranking highlights her exceptional talent and consistent performance on the international chess stage. Her rapid rise in the chess world is a testament to her skill, dedication, and the quality of coaching she has received.

9. Stellar Academic Performance

Despite her demanding chess career, Deborah excels academically. She is currently in JSS3 (Junior Secondary School 3), having earned double promotions during her primary school years due to her outstanding performance. Balancing academics with a competitive sports career showcases her discipline and intelligence, making her achievements even more impressive.

10. Upcoming Representation at the FIDE World Cup

Next month, Deborah will represent Nigeria at the FIDE World Cup in Georgia. This prestigious event will be another opportunity for her to showcase her talent on a global stage and compete against some of the best young chess players in the world.

Her participation in the World Cup signifies not just personal achievement but also the potential for greater recognition and support for chess in Nigeria.

Q: What is Deborah Quickpens Chess Rating?

Quickpen is very nearly the highest-rated Nigerian woman of all-time, at just 12! She has a FIDE rating of 2048. For the record, the highest for a woman in Nigeria’s history is 2050.`

Wrap up

With the right financial support and visibility, Deborah Quickpen could very well become West Africa’s first chess grandmaster. Her dedication, hard work, and remarkable achievements at such a young age are truly inspirational. 

As she prepares for her first World Cup appearance in Georgia, the world watches with anticipation for the continued rise of this young chess prodigy.

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