Friday, December 30, 2016


As we say goodbye to 2016, here's some of the confirmed events the public can look forward to and plan:


The Kickoff Rapid Chess tournament at Nanyang CC on 22 January. Details at SCF website


Thomson Chess Club Champion for members only on February 19. Details shall be announced on the Thomson Chess Club blog soon.

Siglap South CC Hong Bao Rapid tournament on February 26.


The 69th National Schools taking place near 20-24 March at Tampines Hub. Details shall be announced later.

Other Centres like Thomson, Siglap South and Queenstown should resume their weekly Club activities after January 3rd. The Asia Square meetup continues each Wednesday with consistent crowds of 30+ players so its a good idea to bring your set and clock if you have.

Happy Chess in 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Here's a summary report for all students who worked with me in 2016 and also new students that have just enrolled. I use this to monitor their progress and track their areas for improvement.

Nathaniel Cheng (3rd from right) started with me May 2016. In the space of 5 months, he has astonished many (including me) in his progress from finishing 35th in last year's Nee Soon East Chess Challenge to 3rd place in this year's National Age Group! I attribute this to constant practice and diligently going through my opening notes. He scored well in positions where he'd gotten advantage from good opening preparation. More needs to be done in his endgames which will form the basis for our work next year.

Jayden became my student since March 17 just before the 68th National Schools' Individuals, finishing 25th. He has generally good foundation, but tends to overestimate his own chances in analysis. Having reformed his repertoire to suit his playing style, he has made steady progress in his thought processes and achieve good scores after his East Asian debut. 7th place in the NAG, 40th in the Penang Open (6/9) and 66th in the 2nd SG Amateurs (5/9) rounded a bumper year in the course of 9 months. My wish for him is to manage his time well and to work harder in finding better candidate moves (in essence shaking off the habit of picking only 1).

This is Ryan's 2nd year with me and it has been a roller-coaster ride, with good and bad results but in all a great journey. Many a times he does not see the value of remembering opening moves and plays them in the wrong sequence with dire consequences. When he gets his act together in the face of  pressure to perform, he does very well. It took 2 major setbacks in between the KL and Penang Open to finally hit home the message that success can only come with hard work in remembering all lessons covered. The other valuable life lesson he learnt was to never give up when the chips are down - especially his last game at the Amateurs. Though the game was lost he hung on till he saw a mistake from his older opponent and converted it to a win. Thankfully we're past the turbulent learning curve and I am confident we see clearer skies ahead.

Joven's 2nd year with me has been consistent, startting the year with 6.5/9 for 29th place, then 7th place in the NAG (his best result in the NAG) but slipped to 4.5/9 for the Penang Open and 2nd Amateurs. I see it as a case of fitness, as both tournaments are gruelling and challenging in terms of stamina. Most of his games are positonal struggles so it is important to stay alert for 3 hours or more, which is physically demanding. Improving his fitness is key to better results. 

Leonard Loh started June 2015 and is a very quick learner. However, he has other interests which resulted in him spending not as much time on chess as he could have. He plays rather quickly and impulsively which often leads to gross errors.Not spending time at the board often means there will be moves that are missed or opportunities not seized. It will take more than just a few standard chess tournaments to correct this, but I am sure if he takes it upon himself to better his results next year by slowing down, it will materialise.

Sue Lyn finishing her PSLE and went back into play. She chose to play in the U14 category in the NAG as well as the National Womens' to find out where she stood after months of inactivity. Yes, there were signs of rustiness but these can be easily fixed.

Detailed results here.

2016 has been a year I'd like to do more for my students but involvement in the SCF has taken its toll. There were a few students I had to say goodbye to, much against my wish but sacrifices had to be made. For those leaving the pack in 2017, my sincere thanks to you for the years we'd worked. To those coming in, face the future with confidence - focus on your goals and let's achieve them together!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016


The last 2 months of 2016 promises lots of chess activities in Singapore!

The coming Admiralty CC tournament on Nov 27 will kickstart the season, followed by Toa Payoh West CC on Dec 4 and the Cairnhill Chess Festival on Dec 10-11 promising a hefty $700 first prize for the Open Section! After that comes the National Championships and the 2nd SG Amateur Championships on 17-23 Dec with the top 3 places given entry to the 2017 National Championships!

On the International front, the Asian Nations U14 will begin soon on 4 Nov and the Penang Heritage Open on 5-10 Dec. Many Singaporeans have made it an annual affair to take part and we see a healthy turnout this time for those keen on upping their ratings in Standard Chess in Penang.

2016 has been a vibrant year with 2017 even better .. watch this space!


The QCD 33rd National Age Group Championships is being held this year at Bartley Secondary School on Jalan Bunga Rampai near the junction of Bartley Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road.

Drivers can enter via Joo Seng Road or Little Road along Upper Paya Lebar Road. For players taking the bus/MRT, you are requested to walk along Bartley Road till the intersection with Upper Paya Lebar Road. There is a small path that will take you  along Jalan Bunga Rampai and a 200m walk to the school gate. The tournament hall is on Level 2 and is fully air-conditioned.

The Black route above is for those alighting from CC12 (Bartley Station) while the Red route is for those coming from CC11 (Tai Seng station). The side gate to the school is not open as the distance from the side gate to the tournament hall is approximate to that of the Black route.

Drink stalls are open but not the food stalls so you need to scout along Upper Paya Lebar Rd (many stalls along Little Road - Pereira Rd) and there is a Breadtalk Food Republic near the Tai Seng station where there is the usual fast food 0.5 km from the school.

Players are advised NOT to loiter to other parts of the school when not in the tournament hall. There is hardly any space in the Hall so parents will have to wait at the School Canteen once the round starts.

Thanks to the QCD Group for helping with the venue which is more central to get to, plus the Tshirt, clipboards and pens for each player!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


We've got a CM in Goh Zi Han for finishing 2nd in the U07 category, while Siddarth won the Blitz in the U09 Blitz tournament though he finished 7th in the standard.

A most commendable first time effort !

I reckon that both boys have never imagined that they will be leading the tournament up till Round 5! The pressure mounts after and it is certainly not easy to stay calm and alert in the last few rounds. Stamina and keeping oneself relax is paramount to make the final ascent to the Championship title. Most importantly, one should not worry too much about the placing then and mainly focus on the game in hand. Play your best. When the mind is distracted worrying about tournament standings, it cannot do its best. Physical fitness also plays a part toward the last rounds - it is like running a marathon ! When the body tires, it needs rest. A fresh mind can do more for the player than last minute preparation.

Lessons I hope the boys will take with them to the next international tournament.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Our 2 boys who are currently competing in the Asian Schools Chess Championship in Tehran, Iran are doing extremely well after 3 rounds. Zi Han at the U07 is on board 1 with 3/3 while Siddarth at the U09 is on board 2 with 3/3 as well. I am sure they are raising eyebrows now among the Indians, Iranians and the Mongolians :-)

Keep up the good work boys! We're proud of you!

Monday, July 4, 2016


Siglap South CC Chess Interest Group finally opens its session yesterday and already 19 have signed up! SCF gave 5 sets with compliments while the CCMC has ordered another 7 more.

Special thanks to Ms Caithlin for loan of her sets when there was overwhelming turnout. Most of the children here are mainly post beginners and are looking for over the board practice.

The group runs from 3 to 6pm every Sunday. We are looking for a core group of 4 to roster the opening of the Club. Interested? Please reply below in comments or Whatsapp me at 97985479.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


 Thomson Chess Club hosted Bulldogs Team on June 24 at the Club Room. The friendly match was played over 12 boards based on 15 10 time control. Bulldogs fielded a very strong lineup of Filipino expatriates for this match. I took the opportunity to invite some senior members and also some inactive adult players with 2 juniors to pit their skills against the visitors. Tan Poh Heng volunteered to be match arbiter.


Round 1 was in progress and we had a rare visitor in NM Oey Liang Hien, a former Champion who donated his copy of Chess Informant each time he finished it. Others came by like Warren and Ashton Chia who was curious to know who won. The visitors were White on all boards for Rd 1, with a score of 4.5 - 7.5.  There were many interesting games and it was a surprise the inactive adults held their own against the seasoned Filipinos!

One of the reasons for organising this match is to get a feel for the possible setup of an adult chess league in Singapore, which can only work if we can coax inactive players to return to play. I am glad that with the good press coverage over the recent weeks, many have rekindled their interest to come back, which I believe is unprecedented since the last Chess explosion we had was in the 80s. With more centres sprouting and the recruitment of more volunteers, we can  rebuild the Community Club Chess centres that once thrived with several players young and old to play rather than compete. Expanding the network of chess playing centres and rejuvenating the chess club culture is what makes Singapore a true chess-playing nation, which may then set the path for professional chess to be introduced when the conditions are ripe. 

After a temporary setback the visitors regrouped and decided to stick to the same board order while I made some changes to Thomson's. Rd 2 ended with a 8 - 4 victory for Bulldogs, bringing the total score 12.5 - 11.5 in favour of Bulldogs. What matters is the great friendly spirit fostered and promise of more matches to come. 

To that, we celebrate!



SCF's initiative of having Chess@East has finally taken off with the launch of the new Siglap South CC. This takes place every Sunday from 3 to 6pm at the second floor activity room.

There will be 5 sets available for players and more equipment coming should the numbers increase. For residents staying in the East, here's your chance to bring your kids or yourself to have some friendly games.

Special thanks go to the CCMC for providing the premises and the admin. Have fun!

Friday, June 17, 2016






Asia Square Meetup
Asia Square Tower 1 Foyer, 8 Marina View #01-05 Singapore 018960
From 6.30pm till 9.30pm



Nanyang Community Club
60 Jurong West Street 91, Singapore 649040

From 7pm

Thomson Community Club Level 3
194 Upper Thomson Rd Singapore 574339
From 7.30pm till 10pm


SportsHub Library
4 Stadium Walk, Singapore Sports Hub, 397697
11am - 2pm


Queenstown Community Club
365 Commonwealth Ave Singapore 149732
From 3pm

Siglap South Community Club (starting 3 July 2016)
6 Palm Road , Singapore 456441
From 3pm


The two reports in the Straits Times on chess in the community here did cause a stir among several dormant members, some of which I have not seen for years!

As I promised earlier, the Asia Square meetup was featured in the June 9 edition of the Straits Times. Playing chess for the last decade or so has been predominately a junior activity as most adults are busy with career and family to indulge in the game. However, it takes an enterprising Bradley to lug a few chess sets and doggedly lay the tables week after week to create the spectacle that we see below:

This spectacle has caused waves on social media and I've read many comments from once active tournament players and former school-team representatives who 're excited enough to come on down and have a few moves with the other like-minded executives around the CBD. There were not enough sets to go around so some have left but promised to return. What's even more encouraging - a few women too joined in (albeit they were former players for their schools).

Having mingled with most of the regulars, these are chess enthusiasts who do follow the happenings of the chess world and are keeping up with the latest trends in chess-play. Many have gone on to playing in SCF standard events as well. Hence the adult scene is now undergoing a buzz and hopefully we may soon see the makings of chess league  for executives. 

The school scene also received attention from the press, admittedly after several years of media-isolation even though the events that were to be covered were of larger scale that the one featured below. 

All it takes now is for the Ministry of Education to recognise Chess not just as a Club and Society activity but to elevate its status as a Think Sport and accord school colours for its participants. As more and more children are enrolling in chess classes and taking part in tournaments, Community Clubs such as Nanyang CC, Siglap South CC have started offering rooms for chess-playing sessions along with  the current ones like Thomson CC and Toa Payoh West. Just one more in the North and we should have good chess presence all around the island. More community projects are in the pipeline to bring the game to the masses so do watch this space. 

Are we soon witnessing the buildup of another chess renaissance since the last one from 1976-1984? That depends mainly on the driving force for change and the rallying from the community - it does take 2 to tango. More arbiters, volunteers and trainers are required in this journey. It's time to unite. Git'd up!

Monday, May 16, 2016


In our efforts to beef up training personnel to meet the rising demands from schools and parents, the FIDE Trainer's Seminar attracted 27 participants this time. Lecturer FST GM Thomas Luther flew in 2 days before to prepare for the event, assisted by National Coach GM Bong Villamayor and myself.

The trainees come from a vast spectrum, from high rated players and current trainers to parents of chess playing children. Most of them had participated in the SCF Instructor's Course and took on a bigger challenge to vie for the FIDE trainer titles.

The 15 hr course was conducted over 4 days on weekday evenings and weekends to accommodate the participants' schedules. There were at least 6 on the waiting list but we could not accommodate them as the room was already full.

It was not all work and no play...

Once again we thank FST Thomas Luther for his guidance and all participants who signed up for the course, paving the way for more such seminars to be conducted for those wanting to enter into the chess training community. Welcome!

Monday, May 2, 2016


Conducted by National Coach GM Bong Villamayor, the course was well attended by many enthusiasts, parents and also teachers who wanted to learn insights on how to approach the teaching of the game to beginners.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The THOMSON CHESS FIESTA 2016 will take place on May 28 and 29 just before the June holidays begin.

Please download the registration forms here

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


We are gathering more people than the above picture tonight. Possibly 2 rows instead of one.

So we can be in the news. This should help in publicising chess in Singapore, do come on down tonight to make it an event.

See you all there.

Monday, April 11, 2016



There are 24 signed participants for the coming SCF Instructor's Course from May 2 to 4.

See you all there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


There are several initiatives taken by the SCF lately to address the shortage of chess trainers in Singapore.

Firstly, the FIDE Trainer's Seminar on May 12-15 has attracted 25 participants.

The SCF Instructors' Course from 2-4 May aims to get locals who are chess-players to consider a career in teaching chess in schools at the Beginner's and Elementary Level. Hence you need not be a strong chess player to come for this course. However, basic knowledge of chess and the FIDE Laws of Chess is an important pre-requisite.

For those who want to attend the course but have little knowledge of chess, they can consider signing up for the condensed Beginner's Course for Adults in April.

We urge those who are considering a change from their current jobs, to join the current trainer's pool for a less hectic and enjoyable time.

NSI 2016

Over a thousand chess players gathered at Pasir Ris Sports Hall to fight for top honours at this year's National Schools Individuals (NSI) 2016. Held over 4 days to avoid the logistic tussle, the tournament was well run by a small team of 12 arbiters and pairing officials. There were no major delays and what's  impressive was the A-C Div competition where the noise level was down to 60 db as compared to the Primary section (>90). Then again with 803 young school-children you can expect major noise issues but generally they were managable.

The rankings of my students:


Sun Shilian 

RGS Pr 8
18 Tan Xuan Ying 

CHIJ Toa Payoh 5
22 Lim Yen Jie Sophie  

CHIJ Toa Payoh 5
Chan Yi Jin Elyse 

CHIJ Toa Payoh  4
26 Wu Dan Dan 

RGS Pr 4
27 Tong Rui Wen  Natalie

CHIJ Toa Payoh 4
34 Grace Angelina Tjengal 

CHIJ Toa Payoh 4
Lim Patrina 

CHIJ Toa Payoh  3


Rank      Name                                               School                       Score

53 Chan Wen Hui Ryan 

ACS Pr 6
63 Lee I-Shiuo 

Rosyth Sch 6
75 Goh Caleb 

St Andrew's Jr 5.5
89 Lock Yan Jie 
St Andrew's Jr 5
90 Loh Zhang Yan Leonard 
ACS Jr 5
119 Ng Kai Zechariah  

St Andrew's Jr 5


5 Loh Wern Sea Cadence 

RGS Pr 7
14 Koh Wei Shi Isabel  

RGS Pr 6
35 Chua Wan Lim Penelope 

RGS Pr 5
49 Yap Rui Ke 

RGS Pr 4
64 Chan Mi Mi Samantha 

RGS Pr 3.5


29 Chow Guo Quan Jovan 

St Andrew's Jr 6.5
30 Lee I-Shiang 

Rosyth Sch 6
44 Aadithya Kumar  

St Andrew's Jr 6


2 Cheong Sue Lyn  

SCGS Pr  7.5
11 Ooi Zi Ern Shannon 

RGS Pr  6
16 Goh Dai Ting 

RGS Pr  5.5
Ang Xin Ying Faith  

RGS Pr 4.5
33 Sonakshi Nag  

RGS Pr 4.5
38 Ang Alexis Jaycee 

RGS Pr 4
44 Mak Wy-En  

RGS Pr 4
45 Mok Rui Ying Caitlin 

RGS Pr 3.5
46 Lubna Maryam Shah 

RGS Pr 3.5
49 Ng Shi Han Joyce 

RGS Pr 3
54 Lee Sze Ern Vera 

RGS Pr 3
61 Ng Xuan Rui Felicia 

RGS Pr 1.5


Koh Ming Yao Gavin 

St Joseph's Inst 6.5
17    Chua Zhi Xiang Elson 

Victoria Sch 6
Tan Jun Yi Royce  

Victoria Sch 5.5
24 Tan Zhiren Bradley 

Victoria Sch 5.5
34 Khew Yu Cheng Shaun 

Victoria Sch 5
40 Saw Sheng Jie Issac  

Victoria Sch 5
66 Lam Kai Yoong 

Victoria Sch 3.5


6           Lee Qing Aun                                    Victoria Sch                 6.5
12         Tan Zhong Kai                                   Victoria Sch                6
29         Alagappan Ramanathan                     Victoria Sch                5 
31         Brighton Ng                                       Victoria Sch                5

Friday, March 18, 2016


Dato Tan Chin Nam celebrates his 90th birthday today!

He is the Grand Old Patriach of chess in Malaysia and many times sponsor for many of our tournaments in Singapore. Together with Dr Lim Kok Ann and ST Lee, he has pioneered the growth of chess development in China and is also instrumental in creating the chess superpower that China is today.

Back in Malaysia, the Malaysian Open and Merdeka Tournaments are run annually with the inception since the mid 80s thanks to his generous sponsorship. The DATCC and now White Knight Chess Academy are another of his intiatives to foster growth in Malaysian chess.

Thank you and Happy Birthday SIR!


Well, with the support of chess enthusiasts and rejuvenated ex players, the Singapore chess club scene is slowly but surely coming back. Witness the number of players at the last Spore Chess Meetup last Wednesday at the Asia Square mall! This is in comparison with the Rizal Park or Washington Square Park chess arena and the numbers are growing!

We also see interest among some women who came by to learn how to play. That's most encouraging.

Now with interest in starting weekend chess playing sessions in the East and also more CCs offering their venues for tournaments, we are seeing a renewed interest in playing chess (not checkers) on the island.

In time to come, we should have good numbers in the tournaments and perhaps gearing towards larger scale events like a World Championship to be held here?!


What are they? I am afraid some of these names below may be alien to young chess players, who may not have even known who I am talking about. Let me just flash out the titles first, then I will go in depth on my next posting. I own most of them by the way.


Having lost my copy of the Singapore Chess Digest August 1986 ( 25 years ago) which this article of mine was published, I took a trip to the Library to retrieve it and reproduce it unabridged:


Dear Sir,
    Chess clubs are created solely for players and enthusiasts to interact and exchange ideas regarding the game. It is often the hive of chess activity in strong chess—playing nations like the USA, Britain and West Germany, where friendly matches and club leagues are most popular.

   However, chess clubs today seem to have lost their grip on the chess scene in Singapore. Poor attendances, little activity between clubs and, judging from the number of clubs that have been formed then closed after some months of hunger pangs, the direction of chess is vague and uncertain. Just what does a chess club serve to do for the interested player?

   Well, it is certain that all clubs want to provide competitions for players, be it friendly matches or tournaments. The Queenstown and Cairnhill tournaments are regular crowd-pullers among chess players with their history and prestige. But if we examine these ‘open’ tournaments closely, we will find that they have dominated chess activity so completely that this leaves the player little chance to practice without having to compete. Tournaments should not form the mainstay of chess for a developing nation; rather, what is really needed is the gradual build—up of a broad base of players and the education of these players to appreciate the game. Chess cannot succeed as  a spectator sport because you need to be knowledgeable to appreciate its beauty, as it is in the case of art. Perhaps this should be the direction that the Singapore Chess Federation should consider in its plans to popularise the to promote the game through chess clubs.

   Simultaneous displays, lectures and friendly matches between all club members can attract enthusiasts to enjoy the game more effectively than organising a major ‘open’ tournament. After all, such tournaments are only meant for average players and a great opportunity for the top players to make some pocket money. Due to the adoption of the ‘open’ tournament in recent years, the average player rarely wins anything and this can turn him away from chess as it offers no returns for the time spent in learning about the game. What is worse is that it breeds mercenaries who will only play if there is a prize. Many of these mercenaries are sadly plentiful within the ranks of the juniors, which explains the high attrition rate of chess players after the age of 20. Only a handful of our past junior champions are still playing; can’t anyone just enjoy the game for the game’s sake? Perhaps the competitive element of the game has taken its toll on local players with the lowering of standards in the play of our juniors. The reason is simple: there is no impetus for them to improve as they were not taught to enjoy and love the game. The emphasis is on winning and if you don’t win, you will feel that you are just wasting time.

   Forgive me if I sound too blunt in my views, but I urge the Federation to review its aims and objectives for chess in the ‘80s. Are we content to simply produce ‘professionals’ who come out of concealment to try their luck and then disappear with the prize after winning, or do we need more chess lovers who never get tired of exploring the vast possibilities that chess abounds with? If there are any remnants of talent left to be savoured and corrected before they turn foul, then may I suggest that we start educating our school children now that chess is a tool for creation and recreation and not like tennis or golf.  Money is NOT the only reward

Signed : One concerned chessplayer

The reason why I signed off anonymously was due to the fact that I am not yet a subscriber of the magazine, so I was not sure if it would be proper to sign myself. The editor Mr Alexius Chang nonetheless thought it interesting of some of the points made and decided to publish this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Noted that SCF has closed the registration for the FIDE Trainer Seminar in May due to overwhelming response. The number expected from the FIDE website was 20.

The one I attended in June 2015 had only 7 participants.

Monday, March 7, 2016


A whoping 93 participants graced the Lim Kok Ann Memorial Blitz event yesterday held at the Bishan CC hall from 2 to 6pm. This is quite unprecedented compared to previous editions of the event.

This is the first time incremental time control of 3 mins with 2 sec increment was introduced in the local chess scene.

The event was won by GM Bong Villamayor on 9 pts followed by IM Enrique Paciencia. A photo:

We've got feedback from some adult players to do this on a regular basis. Guess its up to the CC chess clubs to work on this, or go join the Asia Square chess meetup on Wednesdays.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


What a good start to the New Year at the SCF Hong Bao Rapid! 192 participants, even the organisers were amazed at the turnout!

There was a sumptuous Lohei led by the MP of Marine Parade GRC Mr Edwin Tong during lunch which was provided to players from the Siglap South CC. 

The Open event was won by GM Bong Villamayor while Danielle Tan captured the Challenger's. A fun filled day and no complaints about illegal parking which was a great relief.

What's heartening was the possible opening of a weekly chess-playing session at Siglap South CC should there be interested parents and players to support it. Who knows maybe a new chess club may spring up in the East! Looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


For those going to the HongBao Rapid at Siglap South CC, my advice is to drop your children off or take public transport or cab if you can.

You can see from the map that there are at best 10 car-park slots near the CC. The residents living around the area can summon the LTA to book any vehicle that is illegally parked. So if you wish to arrive on time without hassle, do heed my advice.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Go to Thomson Chess Club blog for details