Play umlabalaba (isiPowe or isiZulu) at a distance by e-mail [Note that we are currently working on a better way to do this]

Play umlabalaba from at a distance via e-mail

Note: Please install Adobe Flash Player to play the game

A. Contact a friend by e-mail and send him your first move and place it on your board according to the system indicated in section 4, above. Be sure the board faces you horizontally. The board is always numbered beginning from the upper left hand corner.

B. When your friend sends his move to you place his token on your board in the indicated position and then place your second move on your board and send that second move to him.

C. Your friend will place your second token on his board as you have indicated and then will place his second move on the board and send that move to you.

D. Keep up this sequence until someone loses or resigns.

E. Be sure to register your move and your opponents move on a copy of the following form (see also sample game, below). Note that the BLAC Foundation is currently working on an electronic version for playing umlabalaba at a distance that will greatly simplify this process as well as facilitate tournament play. 

Umlabalaba Annotation Sheet

#of Move

Black

Move

Commentary

White

Move

Commentary

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

Etc.

The complete sample game provided in the Dan Aiki Publications book Umlabalaba would be as follows. Note that the 3 rd column on the recording sheet is for comments. Note also that in this sample game White (contrary to normal) moves first. Try playing this game on your board following the electronic board annotation provided!

#of Move

White

Move

Commentary

Black

Move

Commentary

1

W>01

B>05

2

W>11

B>22

3

W>15

B>06

4

W>07

B>14<07

5

W>07

B>23

6

W>09

Declining to capture in order to arm a triple isibhamu

B>21<09

7

W>09

To rearm triple isibhamu

B>13<09

Black now moves three cows ahead.

8

W>09

To rearm triple isibhamu

B>08

9

W>03

To form another double isibhamu at the opposite side of the board

B>19

10

W>02<19

Removing threat and arming a lion’s jaw

B>10

To plug lion’s jaw

11

W>16<08

Thus arming lion’s jaw on the left hand side of the board

B>08

Thus plugging lion’s jaw

12

W>19<08

To reform lion’s jaw on left side of board

B>08

To plug the lion’s jaw again with his last piece.

MOVEMENT

PHASE

13

W19>20

B13>12

A brilliant move because it arms a lion’s jaw

14

W20>19<21

To prevent black’s possible isibhamu

B22>21

A brilliant move permitting the formation of isibhamus by moving either of four different cows

15

W09>17

B23>22<16

A move that also forms a lion’s jaw in the lower portion of the board.

16

W01>09

B08>01

Thus block’s whites isibhamu there while still preserving his cradle from possible harm.

17

W9>16

B14>13<15

So that 15 can no longer possibly block his lion’s jaw

18

RESIGNS

Because there is no longer any way to block the lion’s jaw until he has only three pieces remaining. By that time, however, so as to leave himself with a possible double isibhamu prior to taking whites’s 9 th cow

It is interesting to note that though white was apparently winning with an advantage of three cows, black was able to turn the tables and emerge victorious. Replay this game several times and see if you can suggest better moves for white to have maintained his lead.

To purchase a copy of Umlabalaba please contact edpowe1@hotmail.com

The color version costs $25 and the black & white version costs $15. You will also have to pay for shipping and handling ($5 from any point in the US to another point in the US).

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