Round 1: Malaysia 23 - 13 Singapore
Round 2: Malaysia 20 - 16 Singapore
Round 3: Malaysia 21.5 - 14.5 Singapore
Round 4: Malaysia 14 - 22 Singapore
Overall : Malaysia 78.5 - 65.5 Singapore
A close scrutiny of the rounds indicate that our girls were not playing in their own category, especially the U14 and U16 sections. These were filled by our U10 and U12 girls who were forced to play up for the first 2 rounds. The other sections were evenly matched.
The Veteran's honour was defended by stalwarts IM Giam, IM Leslie Leow ( who agreed to play even though he was on holiday) and Lim Chye Lye. Giam even took a game off IM Jimmy Liew, which was a surprise to many. Leslie for all the years of chess inactivity managed to hold off Nicholas Chan in the rapid games.
I don't think we should read too much into the result of this match where the focus was on building camaraderie between the 2 countries chesswise. However it does serve as a barometer of where necessary action should be taken in terms of the overall state of chess playing among the girls in Singapore.
The dwindling of players in the U14-U18 sections, coupled with the drop in interest (as shown in the poor turnout of girls in the U12-16 sections in the National Age Group in November) is cause for concern.
There is unconfirmed news that the oldest girl school to have Chess as a CCA, ie Singapore Chinese Girls School (founded by Dr Lim Boon Keng who introduced chess there) is closing their Chess CCA. I hope the parents can lobby for support to keep it going. Of course, we understand the school's viewpoint that poor turnout for the CCA is the major reason for withdrawing the school's support, but honestly I think the school does not realise that many of the top players in the school cannot attend the Chess CCA mainly because of scheduling. It is therefore up to the school authorities to flexibly move the date for Chess CCA to ensure attendance. The introduction of enrichment classes at P1 and 2 may perhaps unearth even more talents if this can be brought about. Hopefully, the SCF and the parents concerned can collaborate in some of my ideas mentioned to keep Chess in SCGS alive. For I fear that once this happens, it will be the start of a domino effect that will creep into the minds of the other principals...