Liberia Liberia Liberia

Liberia is a country with an interesting history. It's role in the repatriation of freed slaves led to the founding of this republic in 1847. However, the rubber-rich country has been wrecked by a civil war which engulfed the country for 20 years. Now that the country has it's first female President, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson (pictured right), it hopes to find a new beginning in building its international image.

Apart from Nigeria, English-speaking West Africa has not had much of a history in chess, but of recent both Ghana and Liberia have expressed an interest in strengthening ties to the international chess community. Recently, The Chess Drum's
Daaim Shabazz had received an e-mail from Don Colbert (organizer of Foxwoods) who described the situation:

Map of Liberia, West Africa

Map of Liberia, West Africa

"Am writing to you today on behalf of my friend Ed Summerville fighting all odds to provide chess support for his Native countryman. Ed has actively been giving his all to promoting chess in Liberia. I have personally witnessed brother Ed's commitment with this initiative. Not long ago Ed shared with me how enthusiastic Liberian children envelope the game of chess as well as the adult community. When he started a chess club, all equipment was provided by his personal money. Apparently as all new initiatives, the supplies Ed provided were stolen from location used as the chess club. Although chess sets and boards with some literature were stolen, Ed pursued on anyway while encouraging all participants of the club to pursue on even though the equipment theft meant sharing the one or two boards of his own that were in his possession. Needless to affected the clubs ability to provide instruction on a one on one basis. Ed has recently informed me that he has exhausted all avenues regarding Liberian political support. His position has now been focused on private club status as the only result of non funding from Liberian government."

When Colbert was pressed for a list of specific needs, Liberian Parker Barcolleh sent the appeal below to The Chess Drum.

* * *

Dear Mr. Shabazz,

Thanks for the E-mail that you just send us, as it relates to the sending some of our chess photos.

Sir, with reference to the question that was asked by you to Mr. Don Colbert during your E-mail communication (what do they actually want)?

We are so privileged and honored at this fortunate moment to present to you a short list of what we actually need for the betterment of chess in Liberia.

Having gone through the 14 years devastated civil war, the momentum of support for the game has completely dropped because of the multinational economic problem as was mentioned in our last E mail.

Sir, to rejuvenate the passion of chess in Liberia, we would highly appreciate if you were to bless us with the followings:

  1. An international exposure/opportunity of participating in an international workshop that would help to build leadership capacity and prepare trainers.
  2. Because of limited chess materials (clocks, boards, record books, literature etc) our activities are not wild spread.
  3. That our country Liberia has suffered a serious electricity break down since our 14 years civil war. We would also appreciate a generator that could help to facilitate the playing of our night games and tournaments.
  4. To improve our standard and level in the chess games, we would appreciate if you were to furnish with some computer and accessories for the inter net challenges.
  5. The need to build a conducive center that could accommodate both national and international tournaments are comparing us to renovate a private building for rent purpose as you can see in our photos where we recently hosted a local tournament. Your assistance will also be appreciated in this direction. Here are the photos you requested for. They were taken during our national tournament in April 2006.

Parker Barcolleh

A referral was made to Dabilani Buthali, FIDE continental President and Barcolleh promptly sent a message:

From: kreative chess []
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 11:04 PM
To: Dabilani Buthali
Subject: Acquaintance

Dear Dabalani Buthali:

The national kreative chess association of Liberia (NAKCAL) is very grateful to have an acquaintance with You. The National chess association of Liberia is an organisation that was established to promote the game of chess both national and international.

Sir, you were introduced to the NAKCAL family as the FIDE African Continental President by Mr. Daaim Shabazz. It is an opportunity for us at this time to have a direct link of communication with you.

Having gone through the 14 years server war that has not kept informed about international chess, we will appreciate form you every information and assistance that will to rejuvenate the momentum and spirit of chess in Liberia. Sir we would highly appreciate if you were to use your good office as conduit to betterment of chess in Liberia.

In good faith.
Parker Barcolleh

Mr. Buthali fired off the reply:

From: Dabilani Buthali
To: kreative chess
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 12:21 AM
Subject: RE: Acquaintance

Dear Parker Barcolleh

It is indeed pleasing to learn of the humble efforts to keep chess going in Liberia. As a chess family, it is our wish to have countries joining the family. For a start, I am attaching a questionnaire that will help me establish the current reality in Liberia, with regard to chess and activities of your association. It would also be useful to know your membership status with FIDE (the World Chess Federation).

Meanwhile, regarding assistance, there is a potential window that we may use to assist you - Commission for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries (CACDEC). However, I need to first consult with the Commission Chairman.

Once again, thank Daaim for a very noble role in linking me with the rest of Africa.

Dabilani Buthali

Given this scenario, it goes without saying that Liberia needs the assistance of all willing federations and players who can donate any of the material listed in the letter above. Months ago Senegal made a similar request and hopefully they (along with Ghana and Liberia) will join the FIDE family. If there are those would like to donate chess sets, books, software can send them to:

National Kreative Chess Association of Liberia
P.O. BOX 4084
Photos by National Kreative Chess Aassociation of Liberia.

Liberians compete at national tournament.

Posted by The Chess Drum:  24 February 2007