Luba­balo is Africa’s first world Draughts cham­pion

Vuk'uzenzele - - Sport, Agretnser&aclulture - Jauhara Khan

Luba­balo Kondlo has done South Africa and the con­ti­nent proud by be­com­ing Africa's first world draughts cham­pion, but the road to the ti­tle has not been an easy one for this Port El­iz­a­beth res­i­dent.

Kondlo re­cently beat Ital­ian draughts Grand­mas­ter Michele Borghetti 5 - 0 to take the ti­tle in Mis­sis­sippi. This win made him the first African to be­come the world cham­pion.

“The fi­nal score was 5 - 0 with 15 drawn games. I was so happy be­cause I am the first and only grand­mas­ter and world cham­pion on the African con­ti­nent,” said Kondlo about his win.

Born in New Brighton, Kondlo started play­ing draughts at the age of seven and later joined the Vulindlela Draughts Club.

In 1997, Kondlo moved to Jo­han­nes­burg in search of work.

“I went there be­cause ev­ery­one goes there for op­por­tu­ni­ties, but I also knew that if I wanted to play over­seas I had to be in Jo­han­nes­burg,” he said.

Kondlo went on to join Mind Sports SA, an af­fil­i­ate of SASCOC, and started play­ing in pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments in Gaut­eng. His ta­lent for the game led him to win the Gaut­eng Draughts Cham­pi­onship ev­ery year from 1997 to 2003.

He started com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally in 2001, play­ing his first In­ter­na­tional draughts test against world num­ber two Hugh Develin from Ire­land.

“I beat him, and I was so ex­cited be­cause, he was num­ber two in the world. We are very good at draughts here in South Africa and he had played me here at home. He was sur­prised that I had won, but he had al­ready heard that there were good play­ers in South Africa,” Kondlo said.

In 2007, Kondlo be­came the first and only draughts Grand­mas­ter in South Africa and on the African con­ti­nent af­ter win­ning the World Qual­i­fier in Las Ve­gas.

Kondlo has rep­re­sented South Africa in in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments that have taken him to the USA to Eu­rope and China.

Kondlo has also worked hard over the past few decades to make sure that the game of draughts re­ceives recog­ni­tion in South Africa as an of­fi­cial sport.

He is a coach at where the same club he first started play­ing draughts in New Brighton, teach­ing young play­ers his award-win­ning strate­gies and tac­tics. Kondlo be­lieves that draughts trumps chess in stim­u­lat­ing the mind.

Africa’s first World Draughts Cham­pion Luba­balo Kondlo is shar­ing his pas­sion for the game with South Africans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.