Monday, December 29, 2014


This year passed really fast, with the pace of competitions increasingly punishing as well. With more on my plate, it is necessary to monitor all students closely and with 2015 looming, a heavier schedule means less time for personal recreation.

Those who have put in conscious effort had better results especially Sue Lyn, Malcolm, Gavin and Bryan. Gavin trained till May before he stopped for PSLE and resumed right after. Sue Lyn managed to overcome her 2 nemeses this year and I am very proud of her. We look forward to bigger successes next year at the coming AAG in June, by then she should be ready.

Those who did not do well in the National competitions this year ought to reflect on how they spent their time. I believe most of the students in this category did not take their lessons to heart and made effort to remember what was covered. Upon going through their games, many mistakes especially in counting and calculation were spotted. Opening variations were not well executed, often the critical moves in the variations were forgotten. These were attributed to either not having enough time or other preoccupations like computer games or TV.

In chess, success can only be expected after much disciplined and consistent practice and study. Even if it takes 30 minutes a day, regular chess work developed into a routine will ensure that knowledge will be assimilated through the playing of online games and dutifully following the thought process taught.

With 4 schools and 32 students in total, I am beginning to see the need to monitor the output of my students' homework even more closely. My leniency in not checking all their work has resulted in some slacking.

Less emphasis will be made in introducing newer material next year but more exercises will be planned. In addition, I will  make sure that they can record their moves with confidence and know their squares on the chessboard whether from White's or Black's perspective. This is the cornerstone of chess strength as it aids visualising of pieces on the squares.

Overall, I wish that more could have garnered better results at the NAG but then, what's past is past. We move on, know what needs to be done and improve.


Finally managed to fill my 2015 schedule. Thanks to all parents who co-operated and accommodated to make this happen.

However, there are some sacrifices and I say goodbye to Shannon, Natalie, Joshua, Julius, Zach,Jaryl and Aidan with a heavy heart. All the best to you for 2015.

Welcome aboard Sherwin, Darwin,Tian En, Ryan, Lucas, Alyssa, Joven and Portia! Let's make 2015 a fruitful year of success! Work hard and I'm sure you will be duly rewarded.

My congratulations to Sue Lyn, Malcolm, Gavin and Bryan for having the most outstanding results this year. You shall be the role models of the group and many will look up to you. Keep up the good work!

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 15, 2014


Sue Lyn decided on participating this event on a whim. It was after the National Rapid and I guess she wanted to redeem herself after the slightly disappointing showing there. She rattled off a series of wins in the first 5 rounds, beating the likes of the Champion, along with Alfred Chua and Elmer Arrocena who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. She also took the Best Women's Trophy ! Though she lost the next 3 games, she managed to compose herself to win the final game and secured 6/9. 

If only there was more time spent on reading my opening notes...still, a most commendable effort!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A total of 366 registered for the National Age Group Championships played at the Jurong East Sports Hall. Some foreign entries from India, Malaysia spiced up the competition and gave our local juniors good opportunities to pit their skills against.

 The above managed to garner some of the trophies and my congratulations to them for the work they put in their preparations. Gavin lost the playoff for the best Singaporean result in the Under 12, while Cadence was 10th in the Under8. Sue Lyn lost her last game against Amanda Chan, having beaten the other 2 favourites Erica Chin and Kong U-Ham to finish 4th overall. Bryan came in 8th place overall.

Caleb and Isaiah not in the pictures

Others who took part missed out of the top 10 places but I'm sure they had all matured during the gruelling 4 days. Some took defeat painfully and could not continue, while on the other end of the spectrum, we also have those who did not think much about losing a game. The correct attitude towards treating a loss should be: yes, it is painful but more importantly, one must seek the reasons for the loss with deep analysis of the game played and errors are to be sought and corrected. No improvement can be attained if this critical step is not taken in every chessplayer's career. 

We had a workshop conducted to ensure that they understand how the pace of the game must be slowed in order to minimise losses. However, many are still trying to cope with the pace of play and made unforced errors. Opening lines were also not well memorised and therefore their games drifted into unknown territory. Besides time management, preparation for such a tournament also requires well-studied middlegame positions and clear understanding of the endgames that will result. 

 Indeed, it takes a lot of conditioning before they can perform at standard chess. To those who did not score above 4 pts, there is work to do in the areas you are weak at. Generally, I am satisfied at the overall behaviour of my students throughout the 4 days. We now take a short break and brace for the next major event - Back to School!


Here are some of my students who took part in the Toa Payoh West CC Tournament on 7 December, playing in the Under 7, Under 9 and Under 13 sections.

The U13 Section was won by Tan Qi Xuan who I taught for over a year. He was able to focus on his game and between rounds read my opening notes whilst his friends were busy playing with their computer games. Hence his victory was well deserved. Drawing the last game, he scored 6.0 pts out of 7 and took home $55 cash plus a trophy. 


My other students fared well, Arshia winning the Under 7 section with full score, while Christian (3rd in Under9), Rui Yang, Jaryl, Jasper and Joshua (5th placing in Under13) )took home trophies as well. Ju;ius and Teck Yong managed 6th and 7th respectively in the Under 9.

Jaryl took a break from chess and resumed his lessons to prepare for this tournament. A 7th placing is a satisfactory result His brother Jasper started in September and managed to score 4.5 pts finishing 6th position 

My only tournament this year got me a veteran's prize of $50 in overall 13th position, losing 3 games which gave me a lot of insights in my play. I shall annotate 1 of them in the near future.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Dear parents of young chessplayers,

I'm sure many of you will have useful feedback and comments regarding the dialogue session conducted on Sunday. The floor is open, please state your name and feel free to say what you feel. I shall not be publishing anonymous comments without names attached.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


The following results of my students after 4 rounds of the 2014 National Age Group:

Zachary Leong                Boys  U8        2.5 pts
Cadence Loh                   Girls  U8        2.0 pts

Lee I-Shiang                   Boys U10       3.0 pts
Isaiah Ng                        Boys U10       2.5 pts
Malcolm Sow                 Boys U10       2.0 pts
Naython Tan                  Boys U10       2.0 pts
David Tan                      Boys U10       1.5 pts
Cheong Sue Lyn            Girls U10       3.0 pts
Shannon Ooi                  Girls U10       2.0 pts

Gavin Koh                     Boys U12       2.5 pts
Caleb Loh                      Boys U12       2.0 pts
Jonathan Tan                 Boys U12       1.5 pts

Bryan Sow                    Boys U14        3.5 pts
Natalie Tan                   Girls U14        0.0 pts

Results of course do not tell the whole story; there were instances where some finished their games way before the first hour was through, accepting draws when there was ample opportunities to try for a win. Caleb managed to upset Delroy Singh on Round 2:

Overall, many who scored more than 2 points were concentrating on their games but need to slow down , use their time to field their best reply.