Saturday, May 19, 2001 - South African Wargames Union (SAWU)  - President, Mr. Colin Webster reported that Lubabalo Kondlo of New Brighton township in Port Elizabeth, an eastern province of South Africa defeated Hugh Devlin of Ireland. 

The South African Wargames Union is the authoritative body for all wargames in Southern Africa, including figure gaming, traditional games, and board games.

Hugh Devlin of Letterkenny, Donegal Co. Ireland, is a recognized Draughts Champion and currently the Irish Champion, and former winner of the Scottish Championship, British Open Championship, and British & Irish GAYP Championship. 

29 year old Lubabalo Kondlo of New Brighton is an unknown except for his local township titles, his first real recognition was in 1999 when he open the Draughts/Checker enthusiasts' eyes by whipping the World Champion, Ron King from Barbados while touring South Africa in a 6 to 2 casual match.

L Kondlo - South African Champion
Lubabalo Kondlo, the South African Draughts Champion in action.

Hugh Devlin - Irish Champion
Hugh Devlin, the Irish Draughts Champion in action.

Saturday, 19 May 2001 saw South Africa play its first test match in draughts, although test matches have been common in Europe and America for the past 130 years.

The test match was played at the Old Edwardian Society, 11 Ninth Avenue, Lower Houghton in Johannesburg from 13H30 through to 17H30. The test consisted of two games where each player started once.

The entire draughts community in South Africa, as well as the South African Wargames Union as a whole, were most apprehensive about the South African Champion's (Lubabalo Kondlo's) chances as he was totally untried by international standards.

Hugh Devlin who is representing Ireland, is currently the Irish Champion, and a former winner of the Scottish Championship, British Open Championship, and British & Irish GAYP Championship.

The first match began with Lubabalo putting out a strong, but standard opening. His first game did not allow Hugh any opportunities to feed off any form of weakness.

After 52 moves Hugh Devlin resigned giving Lubabalo the first game.

The second game saw Hugh try a determined attack. Lubabalo held his ground and resisted any opportunity to allow Hugh to take any 'shots'. The game ended quickly in a draw.

Thus the first test match that South Africa has ever played has been won by South Africa.

The large spectator turnout was indeed most pleased with the result.

Colin Webster
South African Wargames Union
082 378 9829

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