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Meanwhile in ... Laos, a drive continues to make this Southeast Asian nation a ‘chess capital’

And in Mexico City, young players are adopting an ancient ballgame.

Axiom/Zumapress/Newscom
Playing checkers in Laos

Laos, a drive continues to make this Southeast Asian nation a ‘chess capital.’ Six years ago, the country launched a “Chess in Schools” program to train as many young Laotians as possible in the art of the game. This year Laos hosted its first international chess tournament. An Armenian player, grandmaster Karen Grigoryan, won the first Laos International Open, but ChessBase.com is reporting that the success of the event has prompted organizers to announce a second edition later this year.  

Ha Mamathe, Lesotho, Senate Masupha is campaigning to change the laws of the land. Ms. Masupha, the only child of a tribal chief, hoped to inherit the title after her parents passed away, but with the exception of the widows of chiefs, women are prohibited from becoming chiefs in Lesotho. Masupha has already been defeated in court and again on appeal but is working hard to rally support for a legal change. It’s a tough battle, Kuena Thabane of the Lesotho Federation of Women Lawyers told CNN. “A woman in Lesotho is not discriminated against – she simply doesn’t exist.”  

Mexico City, young players are adopting an ancient ballgame. Ulama is a ballgame believed to have been played widely in what is now Mexico in the period from AD 200–900. Ulama is a grueling game that requires players to use their hips to hit a nine-pound rubber ball past the other team’s goal line. Today in Mexico City a new court has been built for ulama games, and coaching is being offered. “My dream is for the court to be full, for people of all ages to come, learn, play, and then go out and share this tradition,” medical student Karen Flores, who’s been playing the game for about two years now, told NPR. 

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