Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Day 2 was rather eventful, with unexpected losses mixed with some tough wins. 

Adrian was the first to go down, then Sam. Mitchell managed a planned draw as his opponent didn't know how to navigate the intricacies of the Queen's Gambit and exchanged pieces to a draw.

In the afternoon, things turned for the better after I reminded them to slow down. Nicholas won his second game through sheer grit, zeroing his opponent through the crosshair in the endgame for a nice checkmate.  Adrian won through a neat sacrifice which got him the exchange and won with a backrank mating motif netting a piece but the opponent allowed the checkmate. Sam took the game in stride and ground down his opponent Jarrel who blundered towards the end of the 2nd hour.

Hopefully they will all settle in and let their talent shine through in the games tomorrow.

To lose a game in 8 moves then struggling till move 40 is not my idea of a game. I have stressed time and again knowing the lines to avoid any such mishaps, but I guess it does take a loss to truly jolt the mind to do something about memorising opening lines. Hopefully, they will recover in time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011


1.      The tournament is organized by the Thomson CCMC and the games shall be played according to the FIDE Laws of Chess for Rapid Chess (G/25). Players may choose to play in the SENIORS (no age limit) or  JUNIORS (Aged 12 and below) section.

2.      ELIGIBILITY : This tournament is open to members only. Players paying the entry fee shall be made members of the Chess Club and are entitled 1 year membership with immediate effect.

3.      VENUE : Thomson Community Club Hall, 194 Upper Thomson Road Singapore 574339

4.      PAIRING : Swiss System of  7 Rounds,  time control  25 minutes each side to finish.

5.      SCHEDULE: 15th January Sunday 10.00 am to 5.50 pm . Please report  by  9.30am. Walkover time for Round 1 is  25 minutes.  Prize  Giving Ceremony  at 6.30pm.

6.    PRIZES : A minimum of 5 prizes shall be given for each section. Tie breaks will resolve the placing of each prize winner. Merit prizes may be added if number of entries exceed 60.

  1. ENTRY FEE  : $10 for children aged 12 (as at 1st Jan 2012) and below, $18 for all others. Membership is complete only if you possess a valid PAssion Ezlink Card. PAssion Ezlink Card membership for those aged 18 to below 60 is at $12 for 5 years. Those aged below 18 or are 60 and  above pay $10 for 5 years membership.

8.      CLOSING DATE: There will be a limit of 100  first-paid entries received. All entries are to be submitted with entry fee and reach Thomson  CC  by , January 11  Wednesday  10pm. All cheque payments are to be crossed and made payable to “ Thomson CCMC”. DO NOT SEND CASH. 

9.      TIE BREAK :  The System of Tie Break shall be announced before the start of the Tournament. The Tournament Director’s decision on matters on the tournament shall be FINAL.

  1. The Organising Committee reserves the right to accept or reject any entry without assigning a reason. Rejected entries shall be fully refunded.

 For drivers, free parking is available Sunday  at Shunfu Blk 309-314 at the back of the CC. Enter via Shunfu Road along Marymount Road.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


It's the time of year when plans are made for the forthcoming year ahead, reminding ourselves how we can improve upon the happenings past.

Looking back, some of the students have made significant strides in their performance, but will need the January SCF rating list for verification. Others have moved, though slower, but are surely playing better when I first worked with them.

My resolutions for my students for the New Year will be:

  1. To score minimum 4.5 pts /7  for all 7 rd Swiss tournaments they participate
  2. To ensure that they spend either 4 hours a week on chess-playing or equivalent of 50 puzzles a week, with   the cooperation from parents
  3. To help them gain about 30 rating points per tournament
  4. For the better students, they should prepare for the top 5 spots in the local major age-group tournaments.

Achievement in chess does spur confidence in the child, however we must always emphasise that all good results come from thorough preparation and hard work. To inspire the child to want that is not an easy task, as many of our cloistered youth do not hunger for success. It is therefore a challenge I set for myself as a trainer to find new ways of motivating students to excel.

My usual practice was to suspend coaching after the National Individuals for all P6s taking their PSLEs that year. However, as I examined their exam results, it appears that the extra time off chess training did not help in improving their scores. Rather, the students developed malaise/stress fatigue  in learning having too much time on their hands. So I am reviewing this practice.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


In any sport or endeavour that requires sponsorship for its sustainability, the source of funds into the activity is usually limted.

Much depends on the popularity of the activity, its target audience base and most importantly endorsement from the powers that be.

In the context of chess, the problem of low sponsorship has inherently stifled the growth of the sport over the last 10 years. We have had it good during the 80s and 90s thanks to the generosity of Datuk Tan Chin Nam, a tycoon who is fervent about chess. It was he who sowed the seeds of China as a superpower in chess by sponsoring the Tan Chin Nam Cup in Beijing in the 90s. 

Apart from that, whatever sponsorship SCF collects ( during my tenure of office there) comes from the usual Lee or Tan Foundation, Singapore Pools (before SSC streamlined the funds transfer) and well-wishers who were once prominent chess-players in their youth.

I somehow get the notion that interested parties in the chess community ought to do something about the situation, but why shouldn't parents of chess-playing children take an interest in this matter? After all, with the local scene dominated with junior players, the health of the chess scene directly impacts the chess-playing prospects of their children.The reason why I cannot count on parents of chess-playing children as potential sponsors is the vested interest factor. Most will generally contribute to any shortfall in funding for an activity if it concerns their child, but no further. Most of them will not wait to get off the hot seat once their child stops playing. That is a reality.

The current pool of Life members who are active in chess unfortunately do not see eye to eye with the current SCF administration, so there's no likelihood of any sponsorship forthcoming from them. 

Hence it is an uphill task of raising funds, for which there is no immediate solution or fix. The Kasparov visit last year could have been a splendid opportunity kickstart the rise in profile of chess in Singapore, only to be marred in political quagmire because it was FIDE election year. Well, I suppose the current administration may wish to reconsider inviting Kasparov back in Singapore as he is actively championing scholastic chess education throughout Europe? His last visit was to Turkey. It's not FIDE election year after all in 2012..

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SCF NEW TEAM 2012-2013

December 11 saw the formation of a mixed team of old and new chess officials stepping in to chart the course of Singapore Chess for the next 2 years.

With the unopposed nomination of Ignatius Leong, Ang Yao Hao (the son of former MP Ang Kok Peng)  was roped in as Vice President along with incumbent Shashi Jayakumar. Leonard Lau of Serangoon Chess Club volunteered to fill the hot seat of Treasurer. The other new Committee members (apart from Grace Leong) are Tony Tan, Jason Goh and Luke Leong. Both Jason and Luke would have to be co-opted as they were not present at the meeting.

I find it most amusing when some members in the AGM were indignant at the questions on matters relating to the accounts, remarking that it was a waste of time to go through details or perceived discrepancies. They felt that time should be given for the EXCO to convey new directions for chess with regard to their children who are currently active in chess.

Perhaps these parents were misinformed about the AGM? Anyone who knows about corporate workings would understand that an AGM is held where the current executive body reports on the workings of the organisation and must stand up to questions from members. Most of the time, the questions can be blunt but in earnest, necessary to ensure that the organisation is properly run. When members question the prudence of holding chess tournaments which historically run into losses, their main concerns are about the viability of the Federation should it become financially insolvent in the near future. When that happens, who would foot the bill for the Federation to continue as a going concern (which was pointed out by the Auditors present at the meeting)?

We've had many misconceptions clarified at the meeting, which came to light after much insisted demands from members from the floor. Members were not aware that the Federation had its IPC status suspended since 31 March 2011 and would be restored only if the accounts for FY2009 and 2010 were passed. The auditor and accountant  had verified at the AGM that all monies that were unaccounted for in FY2009 were tallied in FY2010. Hence, the presence of concerned Life Members ensured that the EXCO discharged its corporate responsibilities and proved to be a most effective watchdog of the SCF, albeit that their curt remarks were not welcomed by the incumbent EXCO.

As for the parents of chess-playing children joining the EXCO, please be mindful that you are in it to serve chess in Singapore - that is, all chessplayers and not just junior chess (although the current chess scene is predominately junior in nature). Hence all age groups should be given due attention. The sharp drop of affiliates, little sponsorship, high fees for SCF organised activities, reduction of  SCF tournaments are a cause for concern. Hopefully, they would get their act together to improve matters in 2012, perhaps starting with a improved National Championship 2012?

Monday, December 12, 2011


Shi Hao and Hui Ling took part in this and did very well. Shi Hao scored 5.5/7 (losing only to Tyler Lian in the first round) and came in first  while Hui Ling came in 4th in their category.

Training coupled with practice to reinforce their knowledge is by far the best way to achieve rapid progress, which is measured by their rating performance ( 1473 for Shi Hao and 1361 for Hui Ling).

Oliver Cheok took part in the above 1400 and scored 5th position with 4.5, losing to Tommy Tan and Aloysius Chia.