Draughts wiz invited to world tournament
By Jimmy Matyu Contributing Editor
ONE of South Africa’s top draughts players, Lubabalo Kondlo of New Brighton, has been invited to take part in the prestigious American Checker Federation world championship tournament at Medina, Ohio, next month.
Kondlo, 35, who started playing draughts at the age of 13, said yesterday: “I am delighted that I will be representing my country. I feel great. This is a dream.”
Kondlo, four times South African champion, was previously invited to overseas tournaments, but financial constraints prevented him from going. He now also badly needs R20 000 in sponsorship.
In a letter to Kondlo, American Checker Federation president Alan Millhone said there had never been a player from South Africa at the International Tournament.
Kondlo said: “I dearly hope this time some good Samaritan will come forward to make my dream come true.”
He said he would approach Eastern Cape Arts, Recreation and Culture MEC Noxolo Abrahams-Ntantiso or Minister Pallo Jordan for assistance.
“I am confident of bringing back glory, which I will dedicate to all South Africans,” he said.
Kondlo has an impressive record already and among his International victims are Barbados’s current World Champion, Ronald King, who he defeated in 1999, and Ireland’s Champion and World No 2 Hugh Devlin, who he beat in 2001.
“King was astounded by my skill and ability to read the game,” he said.
In 2003, Kondlo won against a computer game known as Chinook – programmed by grandmasters of the game at the University of Alberta – and gained himself a place in the hall of honour at that university.
Kondlo, who claims to have won all his matches in South Africa, was the only South African invited to a tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2004, but could not go because of financial difficulties.
He said he had already been approached by two high schools in Port Elizabeth, Ithembelihle and Lwandlekazi, to teach the game. “The interest shown by pupils who come to my club is really overwhelming,” he said.
“Draughts is a psychological game and it assists in the mental development of children. It also equips participants with analytical focus in real- life situations.”
Kondlo said such a project introduced in the municipality could have a positive influence in youth development and combating crime.
His coach from childhood, Jimmy- Boy Mqotsi, said Kondlo had the potential to become a world champion if he could get a sponsor. Read Herald Online News
2007 Nat'l Results