In terms of the state of chess in South Africa proper, Kobese feels that there are too many divided interests in South Africa which may result in tremendous friction and repeated failures in organizing. In Africa, Kobese mentions both Egypt and Angola as having developed a number of talented players.
Since the interview, Africa has produced a couple of bright young talents in IM Amon Simutowe of Zambia and IM Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe. The 20-year old Simutowe needs only one more norm for the GM title. Both Zambia and Uganda have produced players showing some promise. The problem as Kobese points out is the disillusionment that can occur once there is no support for promising players.
Kobese, haven beaten players such as GM Judit Polgar, GM Kevin Spraggett, and GM Peter Leko, stands to make his mark in African chess history as one of the continent's next Grandmasters (GMs Slim Bouaziz of Tunisia and Hichem Hamdouchi of Morocco were the first African GMs of record). Read the entire interview by Mark Rubery and an earlier interview by the French site, Notzai.
Editor's note: At press time, there is a more recent piece done on IM Watu Kobese titled, "Black Knight moves to Another Board" by Belinda Beresford. This brief reiterates some the same arguments as in the KasparovChess.com article and goes into some depth about the situation in South Africa. Initiatives to spur growth in an unsupportive environment are highlighted. Surprisingly, this article mentions that IM Kobese will not represent the South African national team in the 2002 Olympiad in Slovenia. Disgruntled at the lack of support of the South African Chess Federation, he will be coaching the Botswana national team.
Posted by The Chess Drum: 31 May 2002