"My opponent left a glass of whisky 'en prise' and I took it 'en passant". - Henry Blackburne | SINCE 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Lucky Dube a great African musician died on Friday aged 43. His music is a great part of my chess heritage. My friend Samuel Chebii introduced me to his music and I introduced him to chess. One part of this unique equation has been taken.

Lucky dube one of Africa’s greatest stars was shot dead in South Africa on Friday after an attempted car jacking incident. He was 43. Dube was one of Africa’s great reggae stars whose music transverse all continents and whose songs played a pivotal role in the struggle aganaist apartheid.


Ministers of religion
have visited me many times
to talk about it
They say to me
I gotta leave it I gotta leave it
It's a bad habit
for a man
But when I try to leave it
my friends keep telling me
I'm a fool amongst fools

Now I'm a slave, a slave
I'm a slave
I'm a liquor slave

Luky dube in the song slave

I know most of my readers are wondering why I am writing about music in a chess blog. But lucky dube and chess to me are so entwined. Although I will always be posting on chess I want to take readers back on memory lane where lucky dube, chess and I met.

Deep in the winding hills and the beautiful countryside of the rift valley in Kenya lies what the early European settlers called the white highlands. In this land reminiscent of the British Isles countryside, early settlers found a home away from home. They led a lifestyle similar to that in Britain; reared ashire and freshian cattle, planted rose flowers, built churches and yes played cricket.

After independence in 1963 Kenyan natives were resettled in these farms and my grandfather was a beneficiary and this is where I was born. I completed college in 2002 and I did not get a job immediately so for one year I had time that completely altered my chess life.

Samuel chebii had also completed college but did not also have a job and one day he made a remark that no one could beat him in chess. We did not have a board to prove this so we looked for wood and carved out pieces that looked similar to chess pieces. For the board we cut out a carton box and used red paint to color the dark squares. Within 2 days the board was complete and our first game was underway. I crashed him in 15 moves, that day we played 17 games and I won 17 - 0. You see he was a complete patzer but he could not believe how I won. We played daily for the next 6 months from 0800hrs to 2200 hrs averaging 19-25 games a day. We did not have clocks; I had never seen a chess book and no other person could play the game in the area.

In the evenings after playing long games and getting mentally tired we visited a local brews den to drink local alcohol. I did not drink myself but my friend was the real drinker of the local stuff called chang’aa. After a few bottles he would sing lucky dubes songs. He was so obsessed with lucky dube and chess that he compared lucky dube and chess in the slightest opportunity he could find. He explained to me how the creativity in dubes songs was compared to capablanca’s. He fed me this ideology everyday for so many months that I nearly accepted it. On our way home he would sing his songs that I got to know the lyrics although I had never had of the song.

Over a one year period his chess improved so dramatically that he was competing with me. We acquired some chess literature although we still used our old playing set. We argued about the universe, light, event horizon, chess, politics, women but on lucky dube and chess that is where we agreed.

So when I received the news of lucky dube’s death it was double mourning when I called my friend he just told me “chess is dead”. That represented how much chess and dube were so close to him and me.


Mal Content said...

Hi Mr korir, Appreciate your comments. Here in NC, USA I do not meet any who enjoy reggae and play chess. I am not rated but I enjoy moving the pieces around the board. Glad to see your quote from "Slave". Heard it for the first time on BBC the other night. I knew right then that I had to have it. Now on the search for one of Lucky's CDs that includes it. Regards to you and best luck.

Anonymous said...

play on www.luckychess.com : Small community looking forward to play new players!