If chess is a jungle, then we can safely said that Jimmy Liew is our pathfinder who is leading the way, clearing the bush and finding the path for others to follow in quest for chess stardom. For a long time he is also our flag bearer, waving Malaysian flag to the four corner of the world…from icy cold Moscow to desert hot Dubai…from green leaves of Jakarta to white snow of Switzerland (Hmm, for this I wonder how Jimmy’s passport look like, must be as thick as my first handphone!)
We all know Jimmy Liew Chee Meng that for sure…we all familiar with his games (we just grown up studying his games) , know about his tournament victories (a lot that’s for sure), read his blog where did not hesitate to view his frank opinions and shared his chess knowledge (Chess is Chess) and we know major facts about himself (first IM… retirement… come back from retirement…etc).
On and off we can see him in chess tournament but we just too shy to chat with him, afraid we are making fools of ourselves by disturbing legend ….that’s Jimmy’s magic! We naturally feel weak in the presence of legend.
While above is Jimmy’s magic in real world, in cyber world Jimmy’s magic is there too. A good friend of mine excitedly rang me one day and asked me “hey, have you read my blog?”, “No, Why?”…”Jimmy comment on my posting!...Jimmy read my blog!...Gosh. how should I respond to his comment?”… and Jimmy is generous with his comment on blogs as a form of encouragement and in doing so makes many bloggers ecstatic…sorry, no prize in guessing who is the first person who put comment on my humble blog and indirectly encourage me to continue writing…
Ok, we all know Jimmy…we think we all know jimmy but how well do we know him actually?
Below are sides/stories of Jimmy that maybe chess public do not know.
THE BEGINNINGWho would have thought the death of his grandmother when he was 9 years old marked the birth of his lifelong love to chess…
Jimmy was around 9 years old when his grandmother passed away.The funeral was in one of his uncle's bungalow in Gelugor. Many relatives came including his cousins from Kuala Lumpur. There was not much for kids to do and one of his cousins had a chess set. They started playing among themselves. The chess pieces intrigue him but they were too busy playing to teach him how to play. That was the first time Jimmy saw a chess set. Later he came to KL for school holiday and staying with his aunt. During that time one of his cousins taught him the moves...
Jimmy spent that holiday playing chess everyday and the rest is history...
THE FINEST HOURMany believe Dubai 1986 Olympiad is Jimmy’s finest hour…well for that answer you are 66% correct. Dubai, correct…1986, correct…Olympiad, wrong. It is actually Asian Team, Dubai 1986.
Playing on first board, Jimmy scored an amazing 6 wins and two draws from 8 games , an elo performance of 2643…Since I think world’s number 5 at that time is rated 2645, we can say that Jimmy’s performance at this tournament is almost near to 2800 performance in today inflated rating. But unfortunately even at this heavenly level he still he did not get the much covet GM norm since he faced only 2 GMs (GM Torre and GM Suradiradja) and in which he beat both convincingly.
In round 5 of this tournament, Malaysia faced Philippines…and this mean IM Jimmy faced GM Torre (who at that time is a candidates for World Championship). Datuk Tan Chin Nam is around among those large crowd, giving moral support and watched nervously as Jimmy, who opened the game in his favourite Veresov Opening, slowly but surely builds up a nice attacking position against Super GM Torre. Critical moment is when Jimmy pushed his f pawn to f5 in which according to Jimmy, he knows he will win this game…and win he did when GM Torre resigned few moves after that.
...So true is the saying that any man’s finest hour is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause (fight) and lies exhausted on the battle field…victorious!
GM Nigel Davies later analyses this game at chesscafe website.
For his effort Jimmy won gold medal as best board one player. ..elsewhere on lower board, IM V. Anand won board 4 gold medal in this event.
NEXT POSTINGJIMMY LIEW : PART TWO - Jimmy’s worst moment-Chess retirement. From Malaysia number one player to small trader at morning market and drive a 'teksi sapu'- illegal taxi.