Friday, May 8, 2015


25 years ago
I had one of the most frightening moment when suddenly, 25 years ago, in year 1990, my school discipline teacher by the name of Cikgu Rahimi called me. (We, form four student of Sekolah Sains Dungun believed that Cikgu Rahimi actually wants to be a green beret Commando but his eyesight prevents him of becoming one, but still he is a commando... that camouflage as a teacher....dangerous) 

When I was inside his room, Cikgu Rahimi appeared to be friendly , very friendly. 

Just when I thought that he is playing good cop-bad cop roles to ask for some information about cigarette activities of student, he suddenly asked me whether I am interested to play chess with his brother (named Rahim Ramli) who will be staying at his house.

I immediately say Yes!

Thats is how I first know and met Rahim Ramli.

Rahim Ramli
 But of course Rahim Ramli has played chess earlier than year 1990.

He first started playing chess in year 1972 (must be influence by Fischer vs Spassky match!) and used to play for Pahang during late 80s/ early 90s.

His second best moment in chess is in year 2000, at Terengganu open he beats many players such as Mok, Fikrul,drew with Agus Salim and so on and emerged second place.

His best moment in chess? That is something that will happen in future. So be careful ya! He is still hungry for chess success :)

His worst moment in chess? It is a bit what probably could be his best result in chess (he is doing a Caruana, scoring perfect 5 points from the first 5 rounds at Melaka Open few years ago), when suddenly he received a bad news that his beloved mother has passed away, immediately, he withdraw from a tournament that he is leading and went home.

As a person, if there is one word to describe him, it will be careful” he is careful with what he saidcareful with what he wear (always suavely dressed and shirt is nicely tuck in)careful with his appearance (well trimmed beard and moustache)

and with tall frame and handsome face and his senior position at UITM Dungun, I believed that he must surely and ocasionally received that naughty letters or flowers from his admiring, female student (or maybe from his female lecturer colleagues too...J ) !    

But not to worry Mrs Rahimi, Rahimi that we know is a very loyal person. He is loyal to the game he loveshe even loyal to chess opening he loves (French Defense, Ruy Lopez Exchange etc). He just never changed his style, his opening etc from the first time we know him. He is that rare chess player that just stick to the one he knows and comfortable with! 

Other skills and interest
...and one thing (few things actually) special about Rahim, he is not just good in chess, recently discovered, he also good in other things such as cooking or emceeing a wedding! here is not referring to that occasional weekend cooking that we do influence by Masterchef series, cooking that Rahimi occasionally do is cooking for a wedding complete with that special pengantin’ dishes! sorry, 'pengantin' cuisine is a more correct term to use! 

He is currently a mathematic professor at Uitm Dungun. His loved for logic/mathematic is obvious. On and off , on whatsaps group, he will asked a logic question that is mind boggling...and recently Arshad posted a magic trivia on whatsaps group that by performing a series of mathematic operations, our age will be known (but somehow this is only limited to a person with aged below 100). Not long Rahim came up with a theorem that explained the trick...and improvised it by creating a series of Mathematic operations that could know the age of someone up to 10,000 years!

I suspect that should Rahim focused his energy on say...solving that haunting 300 years old Fermats Last Theorem (Guiness Book of World Record said it as most difficult mathematic problems), he could cracked it before Wileys did it in 1993.

...and his loved for fishing. Occasionally he will posted a picture of himself with big fishes that he caught. Guess that will be a story for another day.

Rahim is now a President for Terengganu Chess Association and i have to say that now chess activities is booming, exploding at Terengganu. Take last month as an example, every week, there is a chess tournaments being held at Terengganu with average first prize of RM300. Every week!

Chess Odyssey would like to take this opportunity to wish Rahim Ramli all the best in whatever he do (with usual frank remark, exception is when he play a game of chess with Nor Ilhamuddin) ! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015


It comes as a shocking news to me on this calm, lazy, Sunday morning when I heard that currently Fadzil Nayan is currently fighting on his biggest challenge of his life...

From a very reliable sources, i was informed that Fadzil Nayan is now at Intensive Care Unit of KPJ, Ipoh due to heart complication...

A few hours ago, when we are all heartily devouring our breakfast with our loved one, Fadzil's heart stop beating for a moment...Thanks God, doctors managed to resuscitate his heart and now put him in 24 hours sleep and on round the clock observation.

First sign of this problems are shown when in on of the recent local tournament, he withdraw halfway citing a health problem.I never know that 'health problem' is actually a heart problem....

That's Fadzil, sharing his laugh and joy with friends...privately keeping to himself on his problems...

I still remember 15 years ago, when i was being 'interviewed' by my future father in law who is coming from Parit, Perak. He asked me that since i claimed that i played chess, i must surely know one Cikgu from Perak named Cikgu Nayan...and must know also Cikgu Nayan's son. I said yes, i have heard about Cikgu Nayan and  i know his son personally (Fadzil Nayan).

Having establish my credibility as chess player by personally knowing Fadzil Nayan, the son of Cikgu Nayan...the 'interview' went well after that...

Fadzil Nayan is best known as Asian Amateur Champion, fine running in many local tournaments and also fine showing in recent Olympiad. Well, just too many to mentions.

His best tournament? His best tournament will be the one in future. He will rise again like phoenix from ashes and like Mikhail Tal, who conquered his kidney problems to produce success in chess.

Continue fighting, Fadzil Nayan...get well soon and continue to play chess again!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


No, I am not referring to a current flooded situation in Malaysia. I am referring to current chess tournaments that 'flooded' Terengganu's landscape. In a month's time Terengganu has quietly organized 3 chess tournaments! and this is just the beginning!

Terengganu plan to organize up to 20 'mini' Blitz circuits this year.

 This is how it was started...

Aha Moment
Last month, out of blue, Norazmi Mohd Noor had his eureka moment and suggested 'Why don't we organized many small blitz tournaments, sponsored by a player in which all entrance fees will go to this player?

It was just brilliant! Tournament is created, players can take part in blitz chess tournament and sponsor can hope to profit via cash collected from entrance fee and by winning cash prizes.

Lean and mean, no excess fees to pay organizer, arbiters etc. All are done by the players.

Norazmi naturally let the ball rolling by sponsoring first tournament (with first prize of RM120, cash prizes up to number 10) and now this tournaments has snowballed into the fourth edition blitz (will be held at UITM, Dungun this Sunday)

Those interested to take part (and wish to play hot, hellish fast chess in heavenly tropical beach surrounding Dungun, you may contact Mr Abdul Rahim at 013-9390419 for more info.

To Register
No, you don't have to pay entrance fee in advance, fax the deposit slip, later still need to fill up the form etc which we all know is really troublesome...All you have to do is just go to UITM Dungun on 4th January 2015 before 9.30 am, smile, exchange pleasantries and shake hands...done! you are registered already! (ofcourse, after that and before the start of round one you still need to pay the entrance fee of RM10, cannot escape ya!)

Previous Winners
For record below are the winners of the previous 3 editions.

First Edition
1.Fairul Yusof
2. Mubin Norazmi
3. Heng Aik Kiat

Second Edition
1. Fairul Yusof
2. Norazmi Mohd Noor
3. Heng Aik Kiat

Third Edition
1.Syazwan Zulkifli
2.Mohd Arshad
3. Norazmi Mphd Noor

So that is how the Blitz Tournaments are created in Terengganu.

In an immortal words of Abraham Lincoln...Tournament of the players, by the players and for the players.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


With this posting, looks like i have posted about Terengganu chess for 3 times in a row. A hat-trick. But i cannot help it, not with these so much interesting and positive developments that currently happened in Terengganu chess.

I called this phenomena as Second Revival of Terengganu Chess.

First Revival
To me, the First Revival of Terengganu Chess happened in mid 80s to mid 90s when chess is being recognized as sport by Terengganu State Goverment. Terengganu Sports Council generously sponsored many tournaments as well as sponsored players that represent state in tournaments such as National Closed, Merdeka Team Event, Selangor Open etc. 'Sponsored' here is not referring to give a paltry sum of RM50 to players. Sponsored here means that our (state players) hotel, travelling fee, entrance fee are taken care of. We are also given generous pocket money and jackets/ wind breaker, at one time it was a coat!  We are the envy of other players who needs to fork out their own, hard earned money to enter tournament at Kuala Lumpur :)

Pak Sachlin Mail, our head honcho then, even let half of his house as sanctuary to us, chess refugee/ addict.

Of no surprise we are able to produce national players such as Ghalam and Norazmi and dozens other players that able to keep breathing fire at their neck!

After that, and for next 20 years, Terengganu chess is sort of in doldrums...

Yes, there are activities, players etc but somehow ( to me) the passion is just not there...

Now it is about to change... The passion is back!

Second Revival
Part of it is no doubt due to Ruzenan's effort in gathering most of Terengganu players from 3 generations (Sargon Generation, Mephisto/Novag Generation and Fritz/Chessbase Generation) under Whatsaps Group called 'GanuMaster'...with aptly 'GM' as abbreviation!

From this group, many old warriors are manage to be seduced...and lured to play chess again.  Most notably is the comeback of many players that have retired from the game for a long, long time. The players from 'Novag/ Mephisto' era such as Lim Sim Leong, Adnan Salleh, Azli, Lutfi Amir, Cikgu Hafez and Heng Aik Kiat etc. From these list, many i know are opening their dusty and yellowish chess books again and some even started to enter tournaments after tournaments like man possessed!

Unity in chess
Talked about Heng Aik Kiat or better known as Franco Heng, two weeks ago he is the undisputed winner of tournament he entered, an Inter Mosque Chess Tournament. Only in Terengganu, non-muslim entered chess tournament organized by a mosque (and win!). Chess here after all manage to do what politicians in this world tried to do (but failed), unite all regardless of race and religion.

Talked about passion or love of chess, last night we, GanuMaster's citizen, are shocked to know about one of Terengganu player (Khairul Hafiz), met with an accident that resulted in his car spinning turtle many times over. Condition of his car is total wrecked (but thank God, he is ok) and an hour or two after this nerve wrecking accident, and due to perhaps without his car, he can be seen busy arranging  for his transport to his next chess tournament at Tronoh.

An hour after accident (that could easily be fatal), Hafiz is thinking and worried about his next chess tournament! :)

This morning, he went to the accident site to recover his chess set and clock! 

What a passion!

Place to play chess are also mushrooming. Every now and then there are news on new chess center being open...
Tournaments are now also many. From planned tournaments to 'spontaneous' tournaments, from offline to online...its everywhere.

Ganumaster 2014
Talked about tournament, Ruzenan is now busy preparing to hold a lucrative year end tournament called  Ganumaster 2014 with thousands in total prize fund.

Want to enter this tournament? Sorry! This tournament is by invitation only and limited to top 32 players...Top 32 Terengganu players that is! :)

 ...and i just yesterday manage to get my leave approve to enter this tournament.

All in all, it is now definitely a good time for chess in Terengganu...


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


'Emjee' is a moniker or nick name to Terengganu chess player, Fairul Yusof.

Though probably not the strongest (sorry, Emjee...) among Terengganu chess players, Fairul Yusof is definitely the most popular among us with his ready positive opinions/ probabilities even when odds are heavily against him... his lyrical, poetry and detailed description or analysis of situation... his flamboyant style when he is winning or find brilliant moves in friendly games...

All above and more makes we (Terengganu  chess players) all loved him!

'Emjee' as a friend (in need)
I first met him some 25 years ago at now the legendary Kedai Aziz. He is then working at RHB Bank. Though relatively latecomer to the game, he quickly grasp the idea of the game and in no time become one of the Terengganu's top player. This is of no surprise since he is blessed with brilliant mind and naturally he is very excellent academically (especially in advance mathematics) and was shortlisted to further his study in US before some nasty twist in kaleidoscope shattered it to pieces.

But Emjee is a fighter...

Above is not the only life test he faced. I have witnessed many occasions in which world seems totally against him but slowly and surely he rises again like phoenix rise from ashes.

For record he is now a (very) successful Terengganu's 'keropok keping' producer. Good chances if you are eating Terengganu's genuine 'keropok keping', it is probably produce by his company!

One thing i could not forget is how before i started working, some 17 years ago, i realized i probably do not have enough cash to live at KL before i got my first salary. I asked him whether he could help me, quickly he lend me RM300 and a month later, i gladly, upon received my first salary, first things i do on lunch time is went to nearest RHB bank and deposited back RM300 to his RHB's account.

Thanks Emjee!

'Emjee' as a chess player   
But let's talk about him as chess player.

As a player, he is aggressive player with plans always involved some hacking, more hacking and never shy to murder his pieces if that could bring him closer to opponent's king. If there is a combination in a position, somehow he could sense and detect it like any phone could sense and detect a WI-FI signal...

His opening is well...a bit suspect since he always played same openings year in, year out. But then again this could be the thing of a past since what i heard he just installed Chessbase on his smart phone and religiously devoted about 4 hours a day improving his opening. (Whoops! i better be careful now!)

Though he is aggressive as player, outside the game (and maybe to stranger) he is a shy person. Once, few hours after drawing his game against IM Jimmy Liew no less, i saw that IM Jimmy and IM Mok is analyzing this game's ending. I quickly waived at Fairul and asked him to join in the analysis but he refused. Perhaps in this area i wished him to be more extrovert...

The origin of 'Emjee's name
Some times ago, when Ghalam still playing active chess, most of Terengganu players dream of becoming a GM (who don't? ) and foolishly started to put 'GM' in front of our name. For variety some put G-OM and Fairul chose 'MG', under reasons best known by him. After some times all these GM-pretend-names disappeared but 'MG', now spelling evolve to 'Emjee', stays!  

Chess Odyssey take this opportunity to wish Emjee a successful quest to become Terengganu's first titled player... and speedy recovery from high fever!             

Monday, September 8, 2014


I am now fully believed that time travel device has been created and it is called Whatsapp...

A month ago i joined my primary school Whatsapp Group and off...i went back to 1984 when i am still schooling in Kajang.

Thanks to Arshad and Ruzenan (Administrator), I joined a Terengganu chess players Whatsapp group called 1Catur Trg last week and I swear, immediately, I am off to a place 300 miles away and i could feel that i am at that Kedai Aziz again.

Here, at 1catur Trg, sweet bantering are common...exchanging of jokes are norm...the friendly teasing...the live telecast of chess of players. Man, I love this group!
Here we talked chess and only chess, and we do this in our unique and private Terengganu Chess languages that have been evolved and developed over the last 30 years. Example are 'kena pepoh' (severely beaten) or 'sippang kuda' (keep the knight) or 'nok mussing' (want to castle) and so on.

What I like here is, unlike my other half dozen Whatssap Group, here we talked pure advice to be a better request for silly jokes/ mentioning about expensive gift received from hubby, picture of dining at that exclusive Just a bit of chess, a sprinkle of caissa, a dose of catur and lots and lots of friendship.

Here, we are known via our moniker. We have here Mexico, Papa Midnite (me!), German, Franco, Pracih, England and ofcourse, the group favourite player, emjee!...and few more. Just too many to mentioned.

Now while i am writing this post at one of cybercafe at Setiawangsa, I glanced at my phone and see all that incoming messages from 1Catur Trg...i swear, though my body is at Kuala Lumpur, i could somehow hear that  China Selatan's wave come crushing the white sandy beach of Terengganu...and I suddenly inhale that salty air again (instead of carbon monoxide air of KL)

Whoever that created Whatssap. Thank you very much!

You are really one hell of Dr Emmet Brown! (That absent minded doc we all love from Back to the Future films)  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


From end of 20th century
Over the last 40 years, chess world is being blessed (or cursed, depends) with K vs K battles. In 70s we have Korchnoi vs Karpov, in 80s Karpov vs Kasparov, in 90s its Kasparov vs Kramnik, the beginning of 21st century
Move over to 21st century the K vs K battle spilled out of the chess board...we have Kirsan vs Karpov and now it is Kirsan vs Kasparov. Now the stake is higher, instead of to determine who is the champion of 64 squares, now it is to determine who is the champion of 196 countries.

In all of these battles (with exception of Kasparov vs Kramnik), challengers always lost on their first encounters, challengers are also always facing an uphill, unfair task of fighting the champion. Who could forget what Korchnoi faced when playing against Karpov in 1978 (his family is still in Soviet Union then), or what Kasparov faced when playing against Karpov in 1984 (FIDE stop the match when Karpov starts losing game after game).

Now i believed Kasparov is also facing an uphill task to beat Kirsan. This syndrome of unfair treatment to chess challenger is well rooted in chess tradition. No surprise here, aren't we are not the only sports that set up the weird conditions to suppress challenger ? (Equal points-champion keep the title...challenger needs to win extra game to be a champion...challenger needs to win hundred of battles before 'qualified' to challenge champion...and the list goes on)

Hmm, strange to think that chess as an intellectual games comes up with all these non intellectual, nonsense rules... and chess as a game that supported fairness (both black and white pieces carry the same height, weight and speed, each player can moved equal number of moves etc), suddenly in the biggest chess battle, unfairness can be seems everywhere.

So true is what Orwell said in Animal Farm. "All animals are equals but some animals are more equal than others"

Kirsan got the advantage no doubt about it. If these are an hypothecal chess match, i put Kasparov's rating at 2850 and Kirsan at 2820 BUT...Kirsan is a defending champion and Kasparov needs to win that extra game (assume this is old rule) to clinch victory, and Kirsan is well supported by the best seconds and best super computers, and it is played at Kirsan's country.   

But still i am supporting Kasparov...but with my unenviable track record of always support person who later lost tragically ( i supported Zuhri for MCF President...and also supported Hamid Majid for FIDE General Secretary, i supported Spain in World Cup ...and psst, i also supported Dyana Sofya...), not sure whether Kasparov's Team appreciate my support...