Monday, June 25, 2012


This is my Middlegame Section (Advanced Players). Most of what I would need for IM or GM study is here.

Here's my top players who never-made-it-to-World Champion section. Some Fischer books are stashed here because of overflow from my World Champion section. Portisch, Korchnoi,Nezhmetsinov, Stein, Gligoric and Larsen, along with the old masters like Rubinstein, Tarrasch, Reti etc.

My Openings and Positional Play for 1200-2000 ELO section: These were my favourites when I was studying chess a lot. The opening books were kept to a minimal now, as I realised that they get outdated quite soon. So I chose mainly books that explain how to play the openings rather than the repertoire books (but of course, you need at least 1 good one for the openings you play).

My favourites were Improve Your Chess Now, Purdy, Improve your Chess Results by Zak (Spassky's trainer) and the book next to it - Study Chess with Tal (by Koblenz, Tal's trainer).

    Forgot about my Tactics and Endgames...

Here's where I store my Russian Master's English translated books along with the Kasparov Series. Many are great but have gone sadly out of print.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


This was taken after I had cleared my books off the shelves in preparation for their move. The aircon man is coming to lay down the piping.

The collection spans from my childhood days when I bought my first book in's about 400 plus books in there .. from world champion game collections, to middlegame books, lastly opening books. I had a few Russian and German books too from the days when I was in Europe. Now I am running out of room and will have to rely on ebooks. Now I give away those I hardly read in the annual Thomson Club Championships.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BACK IN 1985

It was pure serendipity that there was mention of a comment I read about Malaysia raising a new Junior Squad from the current bunch of promising juniors. Peter Long has already done it back in 1984-86, with the likes of  Gregory Vijendran, Chan Han Meng, Ng Ek Leong, Ng Ek Teong, Tan Hong Ghee,Adrian Wong and among the ladies, Audrey Wong and Seto Wai Leng. They were then known as the Kumpulan Remaja and did a blitzkrieg tour of Singapore, playing and beating some of the top Singapore juniors like Wong Foong Yin, Low Pe Yeow and so on.

My story is centred from the above report made by then IM Leslie Leow in his regular chess column in the New Nation. The Cairnhill Chess Team consists mainly of players associated with Michael Siong who was the Chairman of the Club then. They have travelled  to the KL Labour Day tournament which was then held at the Wisma Belia.It was a strong team event, where amateur teams were formed from friends and associates (no Filipino professionals had entered the scene then).

Leslie mentioned 3 4-0 wins by the Champions, which included 1 whitewash of the Kumpulan Remaja!

I was in KL then to see the tournament and the Cairnhill Team was paired against the Kumpulan Remaja the next morning. Based on my observations of the Malaysian players, what followed was my masterminded Pearl Habour-like plan of matching the right openings to play against each of the boards for maximum surprise effect. The plan was conceived in a old villa of Datuk Tan's in Jalan Stonor,.where the players were housed.

My strategy was as follows:

Board 1 :   Alvin Ong vs Gregory Vijendran - I predicted that  Greg will play the Dragon as Black and  2 c3 was chosen to counter this. Though the positions that arose were a little dull, it suited Alvin and frustrated Greg who was not given the opportunity to brandish his tactical play. 1-0 on time.

Board 2: Audrey Wong vs Tan Chin Hoe - I had noticed during the Singapore tour that Audrey's favourite weapon against the King's Indian was the 5 h3 system with a quick g4 and Kingside Attack. I advised Chin Hoe to go for an early f5 to blunt her intentions and lo and behold, everything appeared like clockwork and soon Chin Hoe was infiltrating Audrey's Kingside on route to a positional crush! 0-1

The game (thanks to Alvin's report on Singapore Chess Digest)

Board 3:  Sng Tong Yew vs Soon Chee Hung - A French defence by Black.. 1-0
Board 4: Seto Wai Leng vs Hoe Chiew Ming - Seto had a very narrow repertoire against the King's Indian which consisted then of 1 d4, 2 c4, 3 Nc3, 4 Bg5 and 5 Qd2. I told Chiew Ming that she would invariably play these moves. Chiew Ming cheekily wrote down the exact moves just before the game started (not an offence then) and a red-faced Seto had no choice but to play the exact moves because she didn't know any better! The game was probably psychologically lost from this point.

One of those rare moments where Sun Tzu's " Know thyself and thy enemy...." came to work just in time!

Special thanks to Alvin for recovering this clip from his archives.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This is open to all SECONDARY SCHOOL students, on 2 July Monday at the Toa Payoh West CC at Toa Payoh Lorong 2.

                                      Download the PDF entry form


For  the details of the 6th THOMSON CUP INTERNATIONAL chess tournament. If you wish, you may


Having studied  the views of Siva, one cannot help but feel that there should be some streamlining in terms of chess training services in Singapore. Siva has cited various sports associations and their workings with private coaches, but stopped short of mentioning how the selection of players for National representation is conducted. When there is insist on creating a national registry of chess trainers, I wonder how this will benefit everyone in the trade. In  particular, when parents with high expectations of their children will be inclined to choose the school or organisation that will bring useful accolades for their children should they attain the goals (be it DSA to the desired school of choice). It all boils down to the framework of which the Federation chooses to operate with all stakeholders, from students, parents, coaches and schools.

I'd still advocate the selection framework based on  meritocracy - that is, the system of selection of national representatives for all international tournaments be decided by simple and transparent criteria, either by  selection tournament  placing or based on an aggregate of the applicant's tournament results of the past 6 months. Not by association of any National Junior Squad or entity that is deemed biased as anyone who has the financial means can join, with the entry prerequisites set rather low. What's even more interesting is that you can "buy" your National colours in the process. Someone in the comments questioned the rationale for admitting such a large number of trainees who eventually required additional personal coaching on top of the 4 hr training sessions.

Now if we use my proposed method (say take the results National Schools Individuals any similar scaled event ) and decide the top 3 places in the respective age groups, with the candidates paying half or less of the expenses (SCF can raise the rest), I should think this system of selection will be transparent to all  students who qualify regardless which school,academy or private coach they train under. In this way, the qualifications and accreditation of the coach will no longer be important. So long as the students that qualify can perform.This will tie in nicely with all stakeholders as it will let the coaches do their job (with less students to deal with), the officials can spend less time deciding who should be selected and instead work harder at raising funds (rather than try to expand the  NJS to raise revenue).Perhaps the SCF coaches can even supplement the training of the selected candidates by detecting and rectifying weakness in their play, during centralised training sessions that can be conducted before the tournament?  Surely this will benefit the players a lot more. 

By the way, I need to clarify and correct Siva's misconception of clubs offering chess training services. There are certainly commercial chess academies set up for this, but by far no existing CC chess club offers chess training. As volunteers running the CC Chess Clubs, we as coaches certainly cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into a blatant conflict of interest in soliciting our services during the playing sessions.