I like the pix, BTW. Great shot!
How are you starting your fire? While I could easily be wrong, I suspect the method, since you mentioned 3 tries. I haven't used Kingsford "charwood", but have used several other types/brands of fuel. Haven't had any problems, since I switched from using newspaper to propane (turkey fryer or side burner) to fire up the chimney. Used to often take more than one try with newspaper.
The other thought that comes to mind is when using lump, put some smaller pieces in the bottom of the chimney first. Then, add larger pieces on top. The smaller pieces will ignite more easily and, in turn, light the larger ones.