Monday, July 22, 2013

ZHONG KAI WINS WHAMPOA CHALLENGERS 2013

Tan Zhong Kai, a 13 year old student from Victoria School has won the Challengers Section of the Whampoa Open Rapid Chess Tournament held over the weekend with 6/7 pts, finishing ahead of several seasoned and higher rated competitors.


My congratulations go to him as he has put in diligent work towards his game. Well done!

Monday, July 15, 2013

RATING CHANGES JULY 2013


The July ratings reflect some healthy increases in ratings for the ones who have worked at their game, Royce Tan once again gained 127 pts from his last rating to increase 150 since his January rating. Hui Ling was taking part in more competitions this year and has done well in the last 2 tournaments to gain a hefty 89 pts from April to total 122 pts gained since January. It was a slide for last quarter's top performer I Shiuan, whose performance in the Serangoon and Teck Ghee tournaments caused him to lose pts mainly due to unfamiliar opening play from his opponents. Hopefully we've patched that and the decline should cease. Malcolm and Bryan made modest gains, but with correct thought processes shaped during our sessions they should make bigger process.

A few have dropped out of the list owing to O Levels and PSLE which made them inactive. Finally Tricia Koh joins the list after a long wait of 2 years! Hopefully she would find more time to play and improve her rating.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CHANGING THE FORMAT IN INTER SCHOOLS?

This year's National Inter-Schools is slated to begin 31 August - 1 September. As usual, going by statistics over the last 3 years:

BOYS U14
    TEAMS SCHOOLS     PLAYERS
2010 18 15 90
2011 13 10 65
2012 12 9 54
SEC OPEN
2010 31 25149
2011 29 18 136
2012 30 24 146
OPEN 2010 16 10 73
2011 10 8 48
2012 12 8 55


Note that the Secondary Open section is combined with the Girls U16 category, otherwise the numbers will drop if we are to measure only boy's participation. I am sure the number of ladies playing in secondary school has dropped but will need to work out the statistics at another post.

The trend that fewer schoolchildren engage in chess for school competition after they turn 16 years of age shows a gradual erosion of interest (seen from the number of players still playing in the Open). This could also be due to the fact that some schools may have closed their chess clubs since 2010, notably ACS Barker, SJI amongst the top schools. Others may have closed their chess clubs but we'll need some sleuthing from visiting MOE websites of these schools to find out. 

My point is that this is a worrying trend for chess development in Singapore, especially if we detect erosion of interest in the Secondary Schools where the budding talents from the Primary Schools wither owing to the dominance of the top 3 ( RI, ACI, HCI) and leave little to the rest of the participating schools to garner any meaningful titles. We urgently need a relook of the current format of awarding accolades to help the schools that participate but do not win anything annually. Create 2 leagues perhaps (much like the EPL) so that the weaker schools can also emerge tops in their own league? Change the structure so that each school is represented not by age-group but have them represented as a collective team from U14-U16 (total of 10 players a team)? This will eliminate the favourites from having amassed a huge pool of talent from 1 bumper year of new students and also allows those schools which do not have enough students in the age-group category to compete. 

Whatever the solution, I urge the newly formed EXCO to seriously deliberate on this issue as the erosion will negate much of their presents efforts in trying to sustain growth in numbers of schoolchildren after they leave their primary schools.