Times’ S. African Diary, Pt. 1

Good Times in South Africa!! Jerald Times with some of the members of his Guguletu team. Photo courtesy of Jerald Times.

Jerald Times has seen a lot in his chess career, but perhaps nothing could be more fulfilling than his current post in South Africa. Times was ask to join David MacNulty’s “Moves for Life” chess initiative in South African and has been keeping a catalog of events since beginning his stint.

In his first essay, Times discusses South African chess as consisting of two movements… the club movement and then the scholastic chess movement. In many countries the latter is more vibrant. Times provided details of the Johannesburg National Schools Championships. He discussed in detail the 11-day event and gave insight as to how his students were faring even taking note of the performance of his students from Guguletu. Here is some insight he gave:

Having been in Johannesburg for 11 straight days I realized that I have two challenges with team Guguletu. First is the Xhosa language. I will have to devise a plan (besides learning a little Xhosa) to teach them the more subtle concepts of chess that are abstract but necessary for a player’s growth. For example, intermezzo, zugzwang and tempo are all critical concepts to grasp.

The second challenge is just as difficult as they have been trained in memory culture not thinking culture. In memory culture information is given and applied. In thinking culture information is given, questions are asked and then application is followed. Memory culture lives in the past, only recognizes patterns and has a hard time adapting to changes.

He continues his analysis of the South African chess landscape by mentioning some of the barriers faced in developing a successful training program. It is clear that Times has a major challenge, but having coached teams to six U.S. national championships, it is a challenge that he will gladly tackle.

Let it be said that Times is thoroughly enjoying his experience and has taken some shots of the country’s idyllic scenery. He also plans to visit Kenya to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This climb is both a literal and figurative example of the work he will do this year to develop chess in the Western province of South Africa. Let us wish him well on his journey!

National Master Jerald Times playing in South Africa.

Read Times’ essay,
South African Chess – Part 1


  1. Jerald,
    I’m very proud of you! What a great adventure to help others as well as to expand one’s own awareness. I hope it’s everything you hoped it would be. Good luck!


  2. I had an oppurtunity to work with Jerald for 7 years. Not only is he a great chess coach, but he’s a better friend. Theres no better way then to share his talent and passion of chess to the world of our brothers and sisters. Best Regards, your friend til the end, Derrick and The Twins.

  3. Hi

    I would love to be put into contact with Mr Times. I hope to start promoting chess in a Xhosa-speaking community near Worcester (100km from Cape Town), and would like to visit the project in Gugulethu to learn from their experience.

    Kind regards,
    Marthinus Steyn

  4. Very good site, your participation to the main goal of spread chess culture is obvious.
    Continue, bravo !
    Mike from France

  5. Jerald,

    It’s great to see and hear about the wonderful things you are doing there. It always feels good to make winning moves on the board but it’s really nice to see winning moves ( like yours) being made in life. Please have continued success in your endeavors there!

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