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!