Umlabalaba Board Annotation System

Blac Foundation

Umlabalaba Annotation System   

  1. This system employs 4 symbols: B = Black (the first player to move), W = white (the second player or adversary), > = moves to the point indicated by the number following it; and < = remove the piece located in the point indicated by the number following it.
  2. The numbers 1 to 24 (1-25 in isisotho) indicate the points of the board (i.e. intersection or encounter of two board lines) where a token may be placed. If you set the board in front of you so you can read umlabalaba from left to right (see board in #5 & #6 below) the upper left hand corner of the outermost square is “1”, the outermost corner of the middle square is “9” and the upper left hand corner of the innermost square is “17”. The other points of intersection are numbered in a clockwise direction. Thus along the perimeter of the outermost square, the square immediately to the right of “1” is “2” , immediately to the right of “2” is “3” , immediately below “3” is “4”, immediately below “4” is “5”, immediately to the left of “5” is “6”, immediately to the left of “6” is “7” and immediately above “7” is “8”. The same system of enumeration is used for the middle and innermost square. That is, along the perimeter of the middle square the number to the immediate right of “9” is “10”, immediately to the right of “10” is “11”, immediately below “11” is “12” etc. Likewise along the perimeter of the innermost square, the point immediately to the right of “17” is “18”, immediately to the right of “18” is “19” etc. until one reaches “24” which is immediately below “17”. Note that in isisuthu the center point is “25”. Note also that in the electronic form of the game that numbers 1 -9 require the insertion of a 0 before the number. That is “1” is entered “01”, “2” is entered “02”, “3” is entered “03” etc.
  3. To record and indicate moves the following system is used. In the first phase of the game (placement), whenever Black moves we first put B then the symbol “>” (= moves to) and then the number of the point the piece will occupy “#”. That is if B moves to 23 on his first move the annotation would be “1B>23”. Then White may decide to place his token on point “19” and this would be indicated by “1W>19”. If an isibhamu (capture line is formed) on subsequent moves then the captured piece must also be named. For example if Black forms a capture line by moving to “12” on his 4 th move and wants to remove the white piece located at “19” the annotation would be “4B>12<19”.
  4. To record the movement phase of the game we use the same symbols and systems as used in the placement. That is if Black wants to move a piece from “9” to “1”, the annotation is B9>1 [in the electronic version B09 > 01]. And if by chance he forms an isibhamu with that move and wants to capture a piece located in point 15 for example, the annotation would be B9>1<15 [in the electronic version B09>01<15].
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