myschkin: . . .
The Eternal King of Zambian Chess
".. And the most underrated chess player in the world has to be the Zambian team captain, Stanley Chumfwa. For many years, Chumfwa has been the most dreaded chess player in Zambia. At any local tournament, every player instantly loses heart upon learning that he has the misfortune of being paired against the unpredictable Chumfwa in the next round. Thus a game against Chumfwa is normally lost even before it starts! At the last tournament I saw him participate in, he had a Christian book on his table (written by classical evangelist Smith Wigglesworth) on how to pray for the sick or something, but this did not tame the merciless aggression with which he mutilated his opponents!
Despite this tough competitiveness on the board, Chumfwa is fondly liked by all the chess players in Zambia, because he is completely approachable and he characteristically respects every opponent he is playing against, always taking every game very seriously, no matter how lowly ranked his opponent is. He is also very liberal with offering his knowledge to the other upcoming players and he feels no need to make them acknowledge his superiority through endless boasting, as some lesser "masters" do. His own kid brother* was thus so inspired by these lessons at home that he has managed to also make it into the envied Zambia national team of about half a dozen players. Almost every member of the national team is not ashamed to credit the development of their game to the critical advice given to them by their generous captain and the instructive games they have played against him over the years.
What makes his achievement even more remarkable is that he is able to do this without committing himself fully to the game. Again because of the Zambian economy, it is practically impossible for a Zambian to become a full-time professional chess player, spending his day studying the latest ideas in chess theory and examining the games of his likely opponents, as professional players in other countries do. Chumfwa can only do this in the little spare time he finds after work at an insurance company. .. , he went to university to study mathematics (at the University of Zambia) some years ago and he managed to graduate in this impossibly tough course despite committing most of his time to chess. .."
* Kelvin Chumfwa
(by Chanda Chisala)