You Go, Togo!

This is my first post in a while because of a nasty summer cold. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Yeah, me too…There was a lady on WSB-TV here in Atlanta some years ago named Bebe Emmerman. Bebe had a segment called, “Don’t you just hate it when…” As I was walking up the stairs at the downtown public library in the 80’s I noticed Bebe on a computer, or maybe it was a microfilm machine. As I walked by I said, “You’re Bebe Emmerman.” She ignored me, continuing her work, so I added, “Don’t you just hate it when you are trying to work and someone comes up and says, ‘Hey, you’re Bebe Emmerman!'” She broke into a big smile, laughed and nodded her head, but she did not look at me, diligently keeping her eyes on the screen.
I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now, but the USO, and chess politics, intervened. I have a statistics page for the blog which I check out periodically. Some time ago I counted the number of countries and was amazed to see the total approaching one hundred. I continued to count each day after that until reaching 100, then stopped counting. For some reason we humans attach significance to the zero on the end. Maybe we chess people should consider the number 64 a milestone.
A color coded map is also provided which shows the number of readers from every country. It will be no surprise that first on the list is the US, followed by our neighbors to the north, Canada. The map of the world is almost completely covered now with white showing only for China, North Korea, and a few countries in Africa.
One day I checked the stats to find a new country had appeared, which happens rarely now. Someone in Togo had read the Armchair Warrior! “Togo,” I thought. “Imagine that…”
This caused me to research the country of Togo. It is officially the Togolese Republic, which “is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Togo) On my map Togo is a small sliver that one would not find unless looking.
I checked out Togo on the FIDE website, learning little (http://www.fide.com/component/fidedirectory/?task=country&fid=212). I clicked on the link to the Togo chess website, but could not read it (http://togo-echecs.forumactif.org/). Next I tried the Chess Drum (http://www.thechessdrum.net/), the excellent, award winning chess blog of Dr. Daaim Shabazz, and finding success. Surf on over and check out the article, “Chess in Togo!” (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2013/02/22/chess-in-togo/)
Togo is not listed on the page at Chess-Results.com showing the top 150 teams of the 2014 Olympiad, but if one clicks on “show complete list” (http://www.chess-results.com/tnr140380.aspx?lan=1&art=0&rd=7&flag=30&wi=821&zeilen=99999) one finds Togo listed as #159 out of 177 teams.
There is a fine tradition in this country of pulling for the underdog; ask any Cub fan. I am pulling for the Togolese team. You go, Togo!

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