The blow was hard, the shock severe; we never dreamed your death so near. But only those who love can tell the pain of parting with you without farewell. God give us strength to face this blow, what it meant losing you, no one will know.
The birth of Ghana Chess came about in 1970 when Ambassador Joseph Amo Asmah pioneered the formation of the Ghana Chess Federation. Together with good friends of his and other diplomats they formed the Accra Chess Club; a subset of the Attoh-Quarshie Sporting Club at Swalaba. Through his tireless contribution, zeal and efforts, several other chess clubs sprung up all across the country to constitute the Ghana Chess Federation; which include the University of Ghana Chess Club, the University of Science and Technology Chess Club, the Labadi Chess Club, the Mamprobi Chess Club, the University of Ghana Medical School Chess Club, the Dansoman Chess Club and the Circle Chess Club.
Ambassador Asmah became the President of the Ghana Chess Federation from 1975 till 1988 and over the period worked tirelessly towards the development of the game. He was the linkman between the Federation and the National Sports Council and through his efforts Ghana took part in her first ever World Chess Olympiad in 1986 in Dubai when he led the national team as a non-playing captain. It is significant to know that he got the much needed support from his dear family while he championed the development of the game. It is therefore not surprising that all the members of his family play chess. His son, Frederick Asmah, was a member of the national team that played in Dubai and who went on to become the national champion from 1986 to 1993.
While serving as an ambassador of Ghana to Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria, Ambassador Asmah hosted some very historic and memorable chess icons such as the famous American World Champion, Bobby Fischer, in their house in Yugoslavia. He also hosted the Dutch World Champion Max Euwe whom he managed to play to a draw. Grandmaster Gregoric was also a friend of the family and coached his son Frederick Asmah.
Ambassador Asmah, became the first Ghanaian chess arbiter when in 1982 he completed the Chess Administration and Arbiters Course as well as the World Chess Federation (FIDE) International Chess Arbiters’ Course in 1986. He also attended the Moscow Chess Seminar in September 1986 in Russia.
Ghana Chess and indeed the National Sports Authority have lost an illustrious personality. To get the chance to listen to your advices and suggestions towards the development of the game of chess would be our dearest wish today. But memories never die and as the years roll on and the days go by in our hearts a memory is kept of the father of Ghana Chess.
Ambassador Asmah, “da yie”.
Ghana Chess ma wo damirifa due.
Fare thee well and may the Good Lord grant you a peaceful rest!