Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(52) Chess in the new South Africa

On February 2nd 1990, South African President F W. de Klerk made an historic speech announcing the unbarring of the Communist party and the ANC as well as twenty-seven other banned political organisations plus partly lifting the state of emergency, and the release of Nelson Mandela.

Two days later I purchased a copy of The Independent on Sunday and noted an editorial headed:

The change begins in earnest in South Africa
There was an accompanying cartoon of de Klerk with a chessboard in front of him on which the white king was toppled over (an indication of resignation) and grasping an outstretched black hand through some prison bars.

The caption read "White concedes."

The next day my brother, David, rang from Johannesburg to inform me that his company, Corporate Management Services, which had had no previous involvement with chess, was now going to sponsor the South African Chess Open.

An invitation was being extended to me to compete in the event by his boss, Gerard Breytenbach, who was vice president of the South African Chess Federation.

I accepted the invite.

1 comment:

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