Wednesday, 10 March 2010 10:19
The Late Arthur Kobese – May His Dear Soul Rest in Peace
It is with great sadness that CHESSA has learnt of the passing of Arthur Kobese. He worked for the post office in the Eastern Cape relocating to Soweto around 1980. He became prominent in Chess circles when he began to organize Chess in the Greater Soweto area, forming the Stablemates Chess Club and Central Transvaal Chess Union (Whose team participated in the Junior Nationals in 1984 for the first time) and organizing regular tournaments such as the Standard Bank Open.
Mr. Arthur Kobese was one of the Founding members of Chess South Africa. He was Interim President in 1994 and 1995 and was elected President from 1996 – 2001.
He also served as Zone 4.3 President from 1996 to 2000.
He was the FIDE Delegate to a number of Olympiads.
Mr. Kobese's contribution to unifying and building chess in the country was unmatched and invaluable.
CHESSA's condolences go out to his family and in particular to his son International Master Watu Kobese and his widow Muriel.
I am saddened by the news of the transition of Arthur Kobese, former FIDE Zonal President and Pioneer President of Chess South Africa.I was privileged to meet Arthur on my visits to South Africa during my stint as Chairman of the FIDE Commission on South Africa.
The release of Nelson Mandela from prison marked the rapprochement between the ruling Nationalist party and the ANC and to encourage the process the various International sports Federations were encouraged to unify the disparate sports bodies which were hitherto divided along racial lines in South Africa. I recall that during the long and tortuous negotiations leading to the eventual vote for the formation of a united Chess South Africa to apply for readmission into FIDE, Arthur stood out as the moderating and unifying voice. His role in the promotion of Chess in the Soweto area and his ability to reach out across racial divides must make this man a true South African patriot who contributed immensely to the emergence of a truly unified Chess South Africa in the post apartheid era.
I made friends with Arthur and on one of my private visits to South Africa in company of my wife we forged a closer bond with Arthur and his family. Bunmi and I therefore sympathize with Muriel and Watu on this sad loss as we pray that the Almighty God will comfort them and all those close to them. CHESSA, South Africa and indeed all of FIDE have lost a great man who always stood for the common good.