Meet Deborah Quickpen: The 12-Year-Old Nigerian Chess Prodigy

Deborah Quickpen is Nigeria’s number one chess prodigy and one of the fastest and quickest chess players in Nigeria and Africa.

Quickpen is currently the highest-ranked under-12 female chess player in Africa and, third in the world.

She was born in Bayelsa. Her parents struggled to pay for her education but her talent in chess saved her from dropping out of school.

At the age of three, Quickpen started playing chess after she was discovered by the current national chess champion in Nigeria, Bomo Kigigha, who also happens to be her current chess coach.

The talented and genius chess player has competed in several Chess Competitions, winning almost all of them.

Quickpen represented Bayelsa at the National Sports Festival held in Abuja, making her the youngest athlete in the history of the event in Nigeria at just six years old.

In April 2024, Quickpen stunned the world by defeating Chess Olympiad gold medal winner IM Odion Aikhoje at the recently concluded National Friends of Chess Blitz tournament in Lagos.

Quickpen doesn’t seem like she is slowing down at all.

At the age of nine, she became the champion of the U-10 Africa Chess Championship in Accra, Ghana, becoming the youngest Nigerian female player to be conferred the Woman Candidate Master title.

“The journey has been awesome but the target is to become a Grand Master and I will continue to develop myself to achieve that,” said Deborah Quickpen.

Her mother said her daughter’s biggest dream is to become a Chess Grandmaster and Medical Doctor.

“Her biggest dream is to become a Grandmaster and medical doctor and own her own chess foundation where children and young ones will learn and become better persons to themselves and to the entire society,” said Quickpen’s mother.

Quickpen also won three gold medals at the National Youth Games, making history as the youngest person to win 18 out of 18 chess games in the tournament’s history.

At the age of 10, she was appointed Youth Ambassador for Sports by Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri.

In 2023, at the age of 11, Quickpen became Nigeria’s youngest ever female national chess champion.

Away from playing chess, Quickpen is also an academic juggernaut. She is currently in JSS3, earning double promotions in primary school.

In July, Deborah Quickpen will represent Nigeria at the International Chess Federation World Cup in Georgia.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583

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