By Nii B. Andrews.

The year was 1973 and the Cold War was still raging. The previous summer, it had been “fought” by proxy in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

A talented upstart from Brooklyn, New York; a prodigy, named Bobby Fischer had faced off and faced down the World Chess champion, the polished Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union.

Then I met Kwadwo Diabene Addo in Livingstone House, Achimota, and together  we started studying chess to great depths. We studied the openings, the tactical structure of the mid game and the mathematical premises of the end game which always rested on a knife edge.

Even the biographies and varied styles of the Grandmasters engaged our close attention – Capablanca, Petrosian, Alekhine, Murphy; we were enthralled by the sublime attacking power of Adolf Anderson in the Immortal Game where onlookers sprinkled gold dust on the board when it ended in 1851.

It was our ambition to become the first Ghanaian Grandmasters.

TREE: Maria José Cumbrerras, oil on canvas, 144 x 114 cm, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Kwadwo was in lower six- two years ahead of me and was studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry.

He was quiet but determined and disciplined; a wholly positive influence. Always kind and deferential.

When it came to the guitar, he was clearly in a class of his own with a vast repertoire of chords and a distinctive warm tone that enhanced his intricate solos and fretwork.

And on vocals he was no slouch either. But we never saw him dance, never.

It was heartwarming to hear that he continued playing and sharing joy through music long after he left Achimota.

The Achimota box room  that we (Larry Joe, Abuus aka Boris, Kwadwo and me) always congregated in was a hotbed of activity – unbridled youthful enthusiasm; chess, music, current affairs, world history, mathematics and science. 

We called it “The Bunk” and from there we were going to make a mark in the world.

Surely, we should have made an effort to meet more often and been in touch far more frequently after Achimota.

I certainly feel privileged to have known him and to be able to call him a friend – a brother, a comrade.

Fare thee well, Kwadwo and may the Lord of Life grant you mercy and peace. 

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