Time had passed since I had last been to the North West province of South Africa. As my modern mode of perambulation trundled and purred along on the long snaking roads between towering mountains I opened the window and inhaled deeply. The wet scent of the rain swept earth always filled me with an inexplicable joy. I grew up around here. Ran barefoot among the mopani trees and ate of the various wild fruit that grew abundantly around the mountains. A lot of it has now been replaced by modern housing.
I was here to witness the annual Lebone II Chess open which was held on the 01 September 2018, the game of Kings being played on royal ground. I watched the trees float by.
Africa has lots of great Kings and Queens who rule over her lush giving lands and tribes but in modern times none have the unique position of the Royal Bafokeng Kingdom. The current monarch’s kingdom is sitting on the one of largest Platinum family deposits in the world and the Bafokeng are benefiting greatly from their mineral rich inheritance.
One can easily witness this by the playing venue. The Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng, situated in Phokeng is an architectural marvel.
It is modelled after a Lekgotla or tribal council.
The annual Lebone II Chess open on 01 September 2018 together with Bojanala Chess union once again gave out a most memorable experience.
According to tournament organiser and Lebone’s chess coach Omogolo Nkwe, it is the 5th Regional Rated Chess tournament he has organised together with the Bojanala Chess Union.
There is not that much chess activity around these parts and having 181 players convened under one roof in the school hall competing was no mean feat. There was an Open section, seven various age group sections for the kids and also a Development section for novices.
This type of chess tournament is what makes it possible for young chess players around the Rustenburg district to earn chess points from tournament play as they can then participate in here around the region, elevate to province then ultimately country.
For them, finally after October there is a selection process where they can get an opportunity to be selected to the Provincial Chess teams competing at the National chess tournament depending on rating points and they earned throughout the year.
The process to reach that far starts from the positive support given to the student and the Coach at the school level.
More than 25 students from Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng will be playing at the SAJCC once again this year on December 15th till 21st 2018 at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.