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1851 Agidingbi: Nigeria’s First Indigenous Variant Of The Chess Game

By Guardian Life
30 October 2022   |   2:00 pm
The 1851 Agidingbi Chess game is Nigeria’s first indigenous variant of the chess game. Inspired by the historical narrative around Lagos that most Nigerians are not aware of, Oludamola Adebowale, historian, art curator and founder of ASIRI Magazine speaks to Guardian Life on the importance of historic preservation through chess. Of all the events that…

The 1851 Agidingbi Chess game is Nigeria’s first indigenous variant of the chess game. Inspired by the historical narrative around Lagos that most Nigerians are not aware of, Oludamola Adebowale, historian, art curator and founder of ASIRI Magazine speaks to Guardian Life on the importance of historic preservation through chess.

Of all the events that happened in Lagos, why the 1851 Bombardment of Lagos?
The history of Lagos is very rich with a lot of unheard stories, but one incident that stands out is the 1851 Bombardment of Lagos by the British Naval forces. The incident led to the annexation of Lagos in 1861 and this formed the very bedrock of colonial administration in Lagos, and what would later become Nigeria. It is based on this historical narrative that I created the “1851 Agidingbi Chess Game”. 

More so, as a history curator and researcher, I believe it is more important than ever to digitise history and use technology as a tool in preserving and expanding the frontiers of storytelling.

 The characters in the board have unique names: Erelu- Kuti of Lagos (Queen Mother), Oba of Lagos (King), Adamu Eyo (Rook), Omo Ogun Eko (Pawn), Eletu- Odibo (Bishop) and Abagbon (Knight). What influenced the names?

We needed to infuse Lagos’s traditional royalty into the characters to create a base for the engagement of this game. The objective is to give Nigerians playing this game a homegrown feel while playing the game. So, next time you are playing the Chess game, you are playing “our own” version of the Chess game.

What is the most interesting thing about this board and what impression does 1851 Agidingbi hope to leave in the minds of players?

The 3D design of the board game was unveiled last week. It is more than just a chess game; it is a collector’s art piece. It is the first of its kind and a must-have for every lover of Lagos history, chess and arts. The impression we plan to create with the 1851 Agidingbi chess game is to export the history of Lagos via chess.

What plans are there for 1851 Agindingbi in the diaspora?

We have plans for virtual reality, XR immersive experiences and exhibitions. Also, we plan to create a UK/Nigeria history culture exchange tour with the game. Knowing how the world craves authentic African stories. We plan to export the history of Lagos and Nigeria to the rest of the world. The Commemorative Board Pieces will be unveiled in December to mark the 171 Historical Anniversary of the Bombardment of Lagos.

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