A MillhoneIt has been a busy three weeks with Lubabalo Kondlo of Port Elizabeth, South Africa a guest in our home for a week then we traveled together to Medina,Ohio for the yearly Ohio State Checker Tournament (3- move restriction) . Lubabalo tied with Michael Homes for 3rd and 4th. place with Alexander Moiseyev (3 move World champion) and Ronald " Suki" King (reigning GAYP World Champion) tied for 1st. and 2nd. A couple of points separated these four GM players. Somehow I managed 7 points in the Master's division and managed a draw with Alex and Lubabalo. Not an easy feat for an average player as myself. We had entrants from Mexico, Barbados and South Africa and many US States represented in the A and B group of players.

The following week began a 24 game match for the " Free Style" World's Title (held by Tommie Wiswell of Brooklyn till his retirement). On Monday King and Kondlo signed the match contract and play began about 10:30 AM that day. Play each day was 9-1 and 2 till ? 4 games per day. I was chosen and honored to be match referee and watched the players to make sure they made their 24 moves each hour on their clock and I recorded the moves as did the players. 23 draws were played and on game 24 Kondlo could have played another easy draw but decided to reach out and play a line that goes into the Pioneer opening and lost. He had nothing to lose as 24 draws guaranteed the title for Mr. King.

Lubabalo and myself packed up and left for Belpre Saturday night after the film crew finished up their interviews. Yes a crew from Thinkmediastudios of Mayfield Heights were on hand for the Ohio Tourney and filmed players and did individual interviews and then stayed on for the match and were in the playing room set up for most of the week. They plan on making a documentary on the game and will travel to Barbados and South Africa to interview Ron and Lubabalo and show the contrast in the two players. Ron lives a good life in Barbados and Lubabalo comes from a disadvantaged setting.

Belpre BaptistWe got to Belpre Saturday night around 11 PM and unpacked the car and then got up the next morning and took my Mother to Church. It was Africa day at Church and we sang an African song and had the two missionaries my Church sponsors on speaker phone and Lubabalo really felt at home that day. After Church my Mother took us to lunch. We took her home and at 1:15 Pm we left for Cleveland and the 8:15 PM Browns Vs. Steeler's game. We stopped on our way up and picked up Ron King at the Roadway Inn in Medina and headed North. In Cleveland the match sponsors , Evergreen Uni invited the three of us to a 'tailgate party' . Ron nor Lubabalo had ever been to such an event prior to a game. In fact this is the first pro football game either has ever witnessed. After the tailgater Ron had a seat with two of the sponsors and Lubabalo went with me to our season ticket seats that my late Father begin buying over 20 years ago. Lubabalo had a great time at the game and could not believe the crowd. After the game we met Ron King outside of the stadium and left Cleveland at midnight. We dropped Ron off at his hotel and made our way back to Belpre by 4:30 AM (short night) for me.

Today I took Lubabalo back to Columbus Airport for his long flight home. Hope to find another sponsor for him next year for our yearly American Checker Federation National Tournament which will be GAYP ( Go-As-You-Please) which all of us remember growing up as make your first move as you wish. We had breakfast together this morning and he asked me to have a prayer for our food and for his flight. Vickie and myself really enjoyed having this brilliant 35 year old man in our home and hope to have him vist again sometime.


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