|In The fascinating World
of Draughts, 50 Years World Draughts Federation FMJD from
Walter van Beek and Ada Dorgelo there is an article about
Baba Sy, written by former World champion Piet Roozenburg.
Here it is:
In memoriam Baba Sy (1935-1978)
From the Great Book of Baba Sy by Ton Sijbrands, I quote the "discoverer" of Baba Sy as well as from the -then- President of the FMJD:
"At last, the book with all the games of Baba Sy. The first and greatest African player of his generation, whose great talent allowed him to become the equal of the best draughts players of the world. When I arrived in 1959 in Dakar, Baba Sy was already known as the unchallenged champion of draughts, with football and martial arts the national games of Senegal. He was young and strong. So he had to become well-known beyond his native Senegal. Thus I set out to have him present himself in the French national championship of 1959 in Chatellerault, for the first time in Europe. And so he did! But his true colours as an exceptional talent Baba Sy showed in 1960, when he finished second in the World Championship, between the Russian grandmasters Chtchogoliev and Kuperman. It would be the start of a truly dazzling career.
Beyond the great tournaments Baba Sy had become a true specialist in simultaneous games. In this discipline too he showed all aspects of his great art: quick victories, astonishing combinations against an -at that time- unsurpassed amount of opponents. Baba Sy was loved for his modesty and gentleness, just as he never forgot who helped him to realise the dream of his life. His tragic end was a blow for us all. We are grateful that grandmaster Ton Sijbrands has succeeded in this remembrance of the fantastic talent of Baba Sy, not only for our own joy, but also for that of generations to come."
So far Emile Biscons, national French master.
I, myself wrote at that time: "Thamks to the untiring pioneer work from Benedictus Springer, ex-World Champion, our country could get a first glimpse of the phenomenon of Baba Sy in the Hartevelt tournament. A year before this 'discover' by the Frenchman Biscons, working in Senegal, has astounded the world by winning the French championship as an outsider in one stroke. His comet-like ascent since 1958 climaxed in the Challenge Mondial, which he won in 1962, giving him the right to challenge the reigning world champion, Iser Kuperman for a match on the world title. However, this match did never happen to hitherto undisclosed reasons.
When Baba Sy died in an automobile accident in Dakar in 1978, he left the draughts world a legendary reputation and a wealth of games. In the past, too much valuable material has been lost for posterity, but in the case of Baba Sy we have to thank Biscons and Ton Sijbrands for their efforts to preserve of this wealth. Without any doubt, Sijbrands has set an important and stimulating example for the draughts world.
After the well-publicised but never played match on the world title between Wiersma and Kuperman in 1980, Sijbrands has written that the history of the draughts game is replete with matches never materialised, a statement all the more relevant for Baba Sy, as well as for the draughts history after his death. What Woldouby could not accomplish with his dazzling performance in Paris in 1910, Baba Sy did accomplish: he opened our short-sighted eyes for the hitherto undreamed draughts talents on the continent of Africa.
A quick opening of the African draughts continent followed: the international tournament of Bamako (Mali) in 1980 (won by Ton Sijbrands), the creation of the African Draughts Confederation, the World Championship of 1980 in Bamako, the World Championship of 1984 in Dakar (Senegal) and recently the 1996 World Championship in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). The General Assembly of the World Draughts Association in Dakar has discussed at length the unplayed match Kuperman - Baba Sy, with as eventual result the declaration by the 1986 General Assembly in Groningen (The Netherlands) to allot the title of World Champion posthumously to the legendary Senegalese player, thus closing the book on Baba Sy.
Baba Sy, with his above-mentioned sportivity and gentleness had lots of friends in Europe. In tournaments and simultaneous games, he had made many friends, who will forever remember him. From the time of his first performance in the Netherlands, my wife and I started a lasting friendship with him, and were constantly surprised by his rapid adaptation to new circumstances.
Some facts: on 27 January 1962 Baba Sy put the world record simultaneous games at 150. In the Pulchri studio in The Hague Baba Sy won 112 games, lost 5 with the rest as a draw: an impressive percentage of 85.6 %."