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South African man takes home trophy at national checkers tournament in Vidor

This is the seventh year Vidor has been home to the competition.

VIDOR, Texas — A South African man who is the reigning world champion in checkers lived up to his title this week when he won the 2022 USA checkers tournament in Vidor.

The City of Vidor welcomed people from across the world to compete in the tournament. 

Lubabalo Kondlo won the ACF GAYP USA National Championships Checkers Tournament which began on Tuesday for its seventh year Vidor.

Kondlo won Friday’s championship match taking home $3,700 and a trophy.

"I come here every year because people love to see good players and they will find ways for me to get to come you know," Kondlo said.

Competitors played for a chance to win $17,000 in prize money total.

Credit: UGC
Checkers tournament winner, Lubabalo Kondlo, left, and tournament director, Watson Franks.

One Southeast Texas organizer wants people to know that Vidor is the checkers capital of the world.

"We feel real honored and privileged," said Tournament Director Watson Franks. "Vidor is a great place to host it. People are very gracious to them and accepted them. I think it's a great thing that Vidor can open up to the world."

Former world checkers champion Alex Moiseyev is also competing.

"This is the third time and maybe even not the last," said Moiseyev.

Originally from Russia, Moiseyev said he's been playing checkers for more than 50 years.

"I was world champion for more than 20 years," Moiseyev said.

Moiseyev is one of about 20 of the top checkers players from around the world who showed up at the Holiday Inn in Vidor this week to go head-to-head.

Also playing this week, is current world champion Lubabalo Kondlo from South Africa.

He grew up playing checkers with his friends, and later joined a checkers club where he found success.

"They told other guys 'Look you better teach this boy because he's beating us now, the old men [that] were there,'" Kondlo said.

Franks said he pitched the idea of hosting the tournament to the city a few years back, and they supported it so they've been hosting the tournament since 2017.

"Vidor has been more than gracious,” Watson Franks said. “They've given $10,000 to this tournament. We have $7,000 more dollars to make it a $17,000 tournament. The city of Vidor attracts the players but the money attracts them also."

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