Sunday, May 27, 2012


Rather than conduct a survey, I invite all chess parents reading the blog to air their opinions on the current state of chess training here in Singapore.

You are most welcome to state what's right, or wrong, or what can be improved upon. I am sure this feedback will go a long way for chess trainers to improve themselves.

Anonymous comments are welcomed. Please stick to the topic, thank you.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Thomson Chess Club will reopen from today for all Fridays starting from 7pm. All are welcome, but priority for chess sets and clocks will go to members first.

See you there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Here I would like to state my views on some  of the more constructive comments made under the post HOW DID IT HAPPEN.

From Anon@May12, 11:59pm:

"As a chess parent, my children are very much into chess and competitions. We put our kids under the training of an outside chess school, and as with any commercialised chess schools, I feel that the trainers are more concerned about making $ and his livelihood, than about the general progress of our children's chess-playing skills.

If we feedback that our children are not 'improving', the coach would tell us that 'more lessons are required' or 'sign up for the holiday intensive chess lessons'. Hard to find any genuinely sincere and passionate chess school or trainer outside that is really concerned about the progress of a chess student, as it's really a good means to good steady income. Chess parents are seen as 'wealthy providers' for these chess schools, largely run by foreign talents....sigh..

I can't speak for the rest, but many of my students' parents will agree that when there is a need to stay longer than necessary to ensure that the student has understood the material, I have always done so.

As trainers we have to make a living, but there is also the moral aspect to ensure that we can deliver the goods as there's no quantifiable measure of progress (unlike the piano exams and tests) other than the student's performance in chess tournaments and their rating differences. Parents ought to have the right to choose the right trainers for their children and not feel threatened in any way to conform to any pressure to stick with someone if they know he/she cannot do the job. They can also discuss with the trainer to set some targets in order to audit the efficiency of the trainer's efforts.

Would really be good to start a nation-wide chess movement whereby the passionate chess seniors would guide the juniors, and spar with fellow seniors, and all playing chess with no hidden agenda, just out of pure love for this game. When that happens, I can really see the progress in our chess scene in Spore. "

If this parent has read my earlier posts " LETTER TO THE EDITOR" and "HAS ANYTHING CHANGED SINCE 1984?" I have already stressed the need for chess clubs outside of the schools to trive and provide the bridge between the older chess-playing adults and the younger children to interact, share ideas and experiences, most of all pass down good values.

So I have to disagree with AnonymousMay 13, 2012 8:40 PM when the author opined that so far there has been grouses but no constructive solutions given to improve the chess scene in Singapore for adults. I share the opinion that it is the onus of the SCF to rally all parties involved in chess in Singapore to provide the infrastructure, be it tournament halls, arbiters  and volunteers to promote chess-playing activities for all in Singapore. As one comment pointed out, the SCF has turned down opportunities presented and allowed the press to play on the division of ranks between chess organisers here. Could differences not be put aside in order for us to work together for the benefit of all chess-players ? 

Anon@May14 1:55pm writes:

Hi John,.

Why are the comments on your blog diverging to other areas?

Let's come home to the key issue of the 2 main characters : the writer Handjojo and the person he encountered, Ignatius Leong !

What is the latest development with regards to the whistle blower Peter Long ? 

I did not delete any comments from the thread even though it veered off topic because it is so rare to have passionate people finally opening up with pent-up emotions conveyed and I thank you all for speaking up. 

As to the 2, I will leave it to the readers after researching on Wikipedia or other sources to form their own opinion about them. Peter has categorically stated that he will have nothing to do with Mr Leong despite being a FIDE trainer. As I understand, Peter is currently collaborating with the Susan Polgar Academy and has already disassociated with the IntChessasia entity. 


While I am indeed gladdened by the vigorous response over the saga of Mr Limono Handjojo, the number of anonymous comments that resulted were sadly made under the cover of anonymity.

I think it is only fair that one should stand by one own's opinion and be identified with it too. My blog is a platform for healthy exchange of ideas, not bickering. So once you know who you are, it becomes easy to note your views and difference of opinion. I do not expect everyone to be converted to the views of others, we can always agree to disagree.

Having been away for the last week in China with no access to my blog, I am currently reading the comments of all contributors and trying to keep thread of everyone's viewpoints. Hence allow me some time to moderate all your views.

Thanks for the lively exchange which saw 600+ hits. I am officially closing anonymous postings for this topic. If you wish to continue your discussion, register a Google account and you can stand up and be counted.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I've just received a bunch of old Batsford chess books from a friend who wishes to sell them. Some of the titles include:-

Sicilian c3                             by Chandler (1981)
Test your Positional Chess     by  Bellin/Ponizetto (1985)
Endgame Preparation            by  Speelman  (1981)
Sicilian: ..e6 abd d6 systems  by  Kasparov/Nikitin (1983)
Spanish Chigorin                   by  Bikhovsky (1983)
Ruy Lopez Breyer System     by  Blackstock (1976)
French Defence Tarrasch       by Taulbut (1980)
Showdown in Seville             by Keene, Goodman (1987)
Sicilian ...e5                          by Harding /Markland
Sicilian Defence Najdorf       by Nunn and M Stean (1982)
Caro Kann Classical Bf5      by Kasparov and Shakarov (1984)

and a dozen Chess Informants between 1979 - 1986. All going.

One should not think that old opening books are useless and outdated. They often give the player a good grasp of what has been played, what has worked and is superseded. Many great opening ideas stem from side-lines mentioned in these books which were then not explored. So there are nuggets of gold in them waiting to be uncovered.

They will be on display at the Thomson Cup International tournament on July 7-8. However interested readers can reserve these titles by emailing me at


While reading the blogs of the Malaysian chess scene, I stumbled upon this disturbing post:

Wonder how this news could have been posted on a Malaysian blog?? It can really tarnish the Singapore chess scene. Such private matters should not be discussed over a blog??