Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Last week i entered 2 back to back chess tournaments, 1 Malaysia and Malay Championship. I was seeded number 5 out of 120 plus contestants in 1 Malaysia and seeded number 6 at Malay Championship, out of 50 plus contestant.

Results? Disasters! First tournament i scored 4.5 out of 7 and in second tournament, even worst, 3.5 out of 7. Results are no doubt worrisome, my games are definitely worrisome but most worrisome of all is... i am ok with it...time after time i just smile, extend my hand to resign the game and walk away making a joke about it. No tantrum, no cry, no throwing pieces off the board, not even having a red face, nothing... Gone is the fire to win (in some games i just let my opponent to win on time eventhough i am in totally winning position...20 years ago i will immediately call up arbiter to protest), gone is my old primordial urge to conquer and kill my opponent beyond recognisable...

Maybe the culprit is now i am no longer playing for prize money, no longer eyeing the moolah to pay bills, no longer aiming for sky high ratings to inflate my ego...

Ah, maybe this is the symptom that the old age slowly creeping up ...the sign that i unconsciously have accept peace, no longer at war fighting to be what i am not destined to be...

Friday, December 24, 2010


This is the first from (hopefully) many other interviews that I do via e-mails with whom I considered as what they called it in corporate world as the ‘movers and shakers’ of our local chess scene. Some politely declined and prefer to remain in the background (but nevertheless still promise to belanja briyani :) Thank you very much!) while some is in the process of replying to me…that too, thank you very much!

We all know who Hairulov is. Who don’t? but still for those of you who don’t (and that could be either because you have not been in Malaysia for the last 20 years or don’t know how to play chess) he is a chess player, chess blogger (a VERY successful one at that! Maybe I need to ask him how much he get every month from blogging! :) ), MCF committee member (in selection to represent Malaysia no less, those angan-angan to represent Malaysia take note!) and chess friend to all chess player.
Still don’t know him? Go to any chess tournament..look around and if you see a handsome man, articulately dress, holding a camera in one hand and a piece of paper in another…eyes busy scanning and hands busy jotting down any interesting chess position. Well, make no mistake that’s Hairulov!
OK we can say we know him now but do we know him well enough. Do we know what his other hobby is? How he started playing chess ? I bet we don’t
I was fortunate when Hairulov agreed to be interviewed online.
Please find below my online interview with Hairulov.

Who teach you to play chess?
Haidil - my friend from my hometown who taught me how to play. We are good friend and we love to compete against each other in any kind of sports. As normal kids, we love to tease each other after winning. Those days we play football, ping pong, sepak takraw etc.etc. We are equally strong in every sport we play. We even compete against each other in taekwondo and because he was three time Klang district champion + his father were a full time taekwondo trainer, you can guess the results!

Haidil is a year older than me and actually he is only a casual chess player. At that time he teach me so that he can beat me easily because it just happens that he knew about the famous scholar mates (mate in 4 – 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Qxf7++ checkmate) and want to use it immediately. As expected, I continuously fell into the 4 steps checkmate against him. The funny thing is after being victimized against the scholar mate several times, I learned to use it and apply it against him. Funnily he also falls into the beginners trap. It means that he only know how to use it but didn’t know how to prevent it :)

When you started playing chess?
I started to play chess when I was 12 years old.

Your first chess tournament?
A school chess selection in 1992. At that time, I was studying in MRSM Jasin, Melaka and won the selection.

Your most memorable win?
I think my win against NM Kamal Ariffin in Sabaruddin Chik Tournament (team Event) in1998 .

Your best moment in chess?
My first chess set.
I start to get interested in chess when I was in form 2. I saw a chess column in local newspaper - UtusanMalaysia (Petak64) and Berita Harian (Jaguh). I love to solve the puzzle but unfortunately I don’t have a chess set. My family is not rich peoples and my father have to work hard to feed us so I don’t want to add more problem to him. I just keep my interest to myself. One fine day, my uncle brought me to a famous shopping complex - Subang Parade. He took me to many shops there, among others are Toys “R” Us and a book shop. At the book shop, I saw a book –Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess and I was fascinated with the book. Then my uncle asks me what I want and he said – ‘anything but below RM10’. The book cost more than that so I decide to choose chess set since I don’t have one. I think that is the best moment and a turning point in my chess life. With that chess set, I try to figure out by myself to study the chess notation in local chess column – Petak64 (Utusan Malaysia) and Jaguh (Berita Harian) and the rest is history :)

Your best game?
I think my win against Mark WengYee in the 5th Kolej, Universiti Malaya Open in 1996. The game is far from perfect but I like the ‘wild’ nature of the game. Back then I am a Sicilian Dragon practitioner!
Mark Weng Yee - Hairulov [B78]
Round 6, Kolej Universiti Malaya Open(Rapid),15.12.1996

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0–0–0 Rc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Bg5 Rc5 14.g4 hxg4 15.f4 Nc4 16.Qd3 (16.Qe2 is the main line) 16...Qc8 usually black play 16...b5 but I borrow an idea from Topalov who won a nice game against Ivanchuk in 1995- . The game however saw white playing 16.Qe2 not 16.Qd3. 17.Nde2 b5 18.e5 Bf5 19.Qg3 Nh5 20.Qg1 dxe5 21.Bxe7 Nxb2 22.Qxc5 Nxd1 23.Bxf8 Nxc3 24.Nxc3 Bxf8 25.Qxc8 Bxc8 26.fxe5 g3 27.Rf1 g2 28.Rg1 Nf4 29.Kd1 Bg4+ 30.Kd2 Bb4 31.a3 Bxc3+ 32.Kxc3 Ne2+ 33.Kb4 Nxg1 34.Bd5 Bf3 0–1

I also like my win against NM Kamal Ariffin in Sabaruddin Chik Tournament (team Event) in1998 and against Ng Ee Vern in CAS selection in1997.
Hairulov - Ng Ee Vern (2210) [A04]
Chess Association of Selangor (CAS) Selection, 19.07.1997

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0–0 e5 5.d3 Ne7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.Rb1 Be6 8.b3 Qc8 9.Bb2 f6 10.Re1 Bh3 11.Bh1 c6 12.c4 Qg4 13.Ba3 Re8 14.Qc2 f5 15.Bxe7 Rxe7 16.cxd5 f4 17.Qc4 fxg3 18.hxg3 cxd5 19.Qxd5+ Qe6 20.Ng5 Qxd5 21.Bxd5+ Kf8 22.Nxh3 h6 23.Rbc1 Na6 24.Rc4 Rd8 25.Be4 Kf7 26.Rec1 Rdd7 27.Kg2 Bf6 28.Ng1 Bg7 29.Ngf3 Bf6 30.Nh4 Bxh4 31.gxh4 b6 32.Rc6 Re6 33.Rxe6 Kxe6 34.Bxg6 Nb4 35.a3 Nd5 36.Rc6+ Ke7 37.e3 Kd8 38.Nc4 Ne7 39.Re6 Nxg6 40.Rxg6 Rxd3 41.Rd6+ 1–0

Your worst moment in chess?
When I lost three straight games in 1997 National Closed which was held at Park Royal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. After round 4, I left the tournament (walkover) without informing the arbiter. I quite chess for almost a year after that!

Your best game in chess?
Same answer as previous question.

Your favorite chess player?
Kasparov first followed by Fischer, Shirov, Anand and more recent - Hikaru Nakamura and Aronian.

If you are MCF president, what are the first things you do?
To tell you the truth. I have no planned to be MCF President and probably never will because ‘by nature’ I’m more a manager then a leader. Anyway to answer your question, probably the first thing I do is to discuss, plan and implement an idea to introduce chess to the masses (in school for e.g.). Not an easy one for sure because there’s thousand thing peoples want to add in school syllabus/curriculum and school children have already got many thing in their syllabus!

If you are FIDE President, what are the first things you do?
Same answer as above.

Do you play chess online?
Yes but seldom nowadays.

If yes where and what is your nickname (if you don't mind)?
My account in ICC has expired and my nickname is hairulov. The same nickname I use in

Do you read chess blog on daily basis?
Almost daily especially when internet connection is available.

If you have to chose between RM1 Million cash or GM chess strength.
Which one you chose?
GM chess strength because I’m not sure if RM 1 Million is enough for me to reach a GM chess strength :)

What is more important, to have a first class chess programmes in
school or to have a first GM?
I think to have a chess programs in school. I think more numbers of GMs can be produced if we introduced these sports to the masses and school is the best place to implement it!

Rybka or Fritz?
At the moment – Rybka of course!

Your most active time. Day or night?
Nowadays – day.

Strategy or Tactics?

Which one you enjoyed more. Blogging a memorable article or
playing a beautiful game?
Playing a beautiful game. But nowadays I seldom play and more active in blogging.

Your hobby? (Other than chess)
Collecting Hotel’s shampoo bottle. I often travel (outstation) and stay in hotel. I like the beauty and different design in every Hotel’s shampoo bottle.

Your favorite holiday location?
Beaches, waterfall. I love to go to Redang Island in Terengganu. I missed a trip before because my wife was pregnant.

Title of last book you read?
Sirah dan Riwayat Hidup Nabi Muhammad SAW by Abu Mazaya Al- Hafiz. For chess book - Winning Chess Middle games by Ivan Sokolov (New in Chess).

Title of last movie you watch at cinema?

And with whom?
With my wife and kids of course - :)

Your favorite TV show?
In the past – Mind Your Language, The A-Team, Macgyver, Knight Rider etc. etc. Nowadays, Mr.Bean, Biggest Loser, Wipeout, Amazing Race, CSI and of course – football show.

Your favorite food?
Nasi Paprik (daging & ayam).

Your favorite eating place?
Taman Warisan and food court Precint 9. Both at Putrajaya.

Your favorite song?
Michael Bolton- How can I suppose to live without you. Malay- Lamunan Terhenti - Aris Ariwatan which is my ‘carik makan’ song when are force to sing in a karaoke session :)

The other side of Hairulov that chess citizen doesn’t know?
I think it would be better to keep it to my self :)

Thanks Hairulov for your time and willingness to answer above questions!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Did i told you in my previous posting that from now on, I want to concentrate on endgames ?

Naturally i became an unofficial student of Karsten Mueller. He is to chess endgames is what Warren Buffett to investing...very, very knowledgeable. I bought his book Fundamental Chess Endings and for the first time in my life I know how to checkmate a lone king by using knight and bishop. I ofcourse, avidly follow his monthly column at

I am pleasantly surprise to see for this month column, he analyse our own Tan Jun Feng endgame. See here

For our endgames to be analyse by Karsten Muller is almost equal to our car to be driven by Michael Schumacer, it is indeed an achievement!

Congratulations Jun Feng!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


To Study Endgames, Endgames and more Endgames
I normally hates to study endgames. The last time I studied endgames is how to checkmate a lone king by using rook. It was like 25 years ago!

I do love to study openings and always dream of outplaying my opponent in the opening and win beautifully. Who don’t? But after more than 20 years (unfortunately!),now i realized that is not the best way to improve my chess. So my top priority next year or maybe now is to study endgames. I have actually started by perusing through my new chess book on endgame (John Nunn’s Understanding Chess Endgames ) and voila! i started to find many pretty babes here. Triangulation, Opposition and endgames even got this Distant Opposition (the magical art of losing or winning a move by moving backward, do a bit of shadow dancing and suddenly sprinting upward, winning... lovely! ), Shouldering, Horizontal Shouldering...and this is only on pawn endings!

I started to fell in love with endgames...Bye bye openings

To Enter 2 FIDE Rated Chess Tournaments
Selangor Open and Malaysian Open are two strong candidates! Well, kinda missed ol’ DATCC Fide Rated events!

To push my FIDE Rating to 2050.
My current ratings is 2012 (not really a nice number since Mayan said thousand years ago that 2012 is doom!) but then again with ratings of 2050 i will be roughly player number 44 in Malaysia (44...never really a nice number)

To Enter 10 Local Chess Tournaments and Finished Better Than Seeded.
Simple. If I am seeded number 10 than my target is simply to finish better than number 10. But if i am seeded number 15 then my aim is to be in top ten...who want to pay 30 bucks entrance fee, spent the whole Sunday squeezing your brain to find the best move, went home tiredly and informed your kids you won nothing!

To buy original Rybka4
Strong engine is one thing but the real gem is ofcourse the free one year membership at Chessbase...believe once become a membeer than i could started finding ways of extending my membership by entering tournament's online. If Arshad could do it, i could do it better! :)

To Write More Often (52 Postings)
Next year, I will try to write at least once a week. This maybe the hardest among all of my 7 chess resolutions for 2011.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The Intro
Haq has done it. 2 days ago Edward Lee has done it even better. Haq has done it mano e many (one on many, simultaneous chess). Edward Lee has done it mano e mano, man to man, one on one.

I am talking about beating GM Nigel Short.

2 days ago, cr33pstalker aka Edward Lee played blitz game (3 + 1 second) at playchess. Witnesss by thousand of chess fan worldwide, our hero duly beat someone who just once, an opponent away, from becoming World Chess Champion. I suspect Maruku or Dhal he consumed during that Deepavali Days legally contribute to his win.

The game begin innocently enough with equal position but once the game entered the endgame phase Edward Lee runs amok and he starts picking Short's pawns that in the words of Bobby Fischer in My 60 memorable games,...fells like ripe apples.

One pawn up, two pawns up, three pawns up! Short resigned shortly after. He has had enough!

The Game

The Thanks
Many thanks to Jedi Arshad from PCNT for the info and the game and duly shared it with his Padawan.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The Intro
There is this TV show about 2 guys who went all out to test all the 'myth'. They discovered that some myths are to be believe while some others are to be busted.

That show makes me wonder whether all what we read about chess is true and can we believe it 100%.

The Test
The Immortal Game!

In year 1851 Anderrssen played a beautiful game against Kieseritzky. He won brillliantly and below are some of the comments about that game.
"All authorities agree that this partie is the most brilliant game of which there is any record" Franklin K. Young.
"the most beautiful game on record" Bird
"A glorious finish"Lasker

In fact I first discovered this game in a chess article (if i am not mistaken was written by Christi Hon) under titled that went like "Anderssen's Perfect Chess Combination" or maybe" Anderssen's perfection of play"

Doesn't matter the title, what matter is whether this game really 'perfect'?

The Game

The Analysis
By using my chess engine i scrutinized this game and discovered that white cannot win due to a weak 18th moves by Anderssen (a move that Chernev gave double exclaimation mark!!)

18. Bd6 !! (Chernev)

Anyway Fritz disagree. The calculator claimed 18.Re1 as better. According to Fritz, 18.Bd6 is best answered with 18. ...Qa1 19.Ke2 Qb2! 20. Kd2 Bg1 with equal in a very double edge position!

The Verdict
Busted! Beautiful? Yes but perfect? No.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The Teh Tarik session
This happen at about 3 months ago, shortly after we (Razali, Nik Farouqi, Saprin and yours truly) simultaneously received our 'lesson' from GM Ziaur Rahman, we decided to have a teh tarik at Kassim's. Topics discuss varied. From World Cup to Paul the Octopus to conspiracy theory and about national closed.

Suddenly Saprin mentioned about his game against top junior in which his opponent queening one of his pawn. Saprin said that should his opponent touch, say bishop (that locate outside the board) while in the process of reaching for the queen, he will asked his opponent to promote the pawn to a bishop as per Touch Move Law.


This statement from Saprin keep me thinking for a long time about the promotion problems.

Can we asked our opponent to promote to piece that he/she has first touch, even though that piece is outside of the board. Is touch move rule applicable to piece outside of the board?

The Investigatation

FIDE Rules of Chess mentioned the following:

"When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move on the same square for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour. The player’s choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called ‘promotion’ and the effect of the new piece is immediate. "

"...promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised, when the piece has touched the square of promotion. "

" the case of the promotion of a pawn, when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard and the player's hand has released the new piece after placing it on the promotion square. If the player has released from his hand the pawn that has reached the promotion square, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square."

The Verdict

Sorry Saprin.

Since promotion only count AFTER the new piece touch the promotion square, in my humble opinion we cannot force the opponent to promote to piece he/she first touch outside the board. We, however, can only force the promotion of pawn to piece that has touch the promotion square.

I am ofcourse, open to other opinions!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It is not easy to play in Olympiad.
First to qualify to be in a team.
Second to qualify financially to be in a team.
Third to physically be at the venue
Fourth to qualify to play in one of those round ( well, we do have players that never make a move in Olympiad, remember?)
Fifth to finally going back home safely (we have in 1982 Olympiad player that went missing until today)

No I have never played one but just imagine when we played in a tournament where being a GM is normal, to discover that Kramnik, Shirov, Carlsen is also human and we can call them as our fellow competitors that we can snap a pic with (no more some fearless god from our chess book), Kasparov, Karpov can be seen on and off the tournament hall...the experience, occassion can simply be overwhelm especially so if this is our first Olympiad. We are the so called Olympiad's virgin.

We take a deep breath, tried to look around to see whether is there any player that is 'lauk' in which we can easily beat (blame this with our old habit taken from local chess tournament due to boredom in waiting for 1st round to begin, the compulsory one and half hour late than schedule).


Then it dawn on us that WE are actually the delicious 'lauk' for this feast!

Below are statistic on this year Malaysian's Olympiad team (men) perform when they are as per Madonna's song "Like a virgin" ;-)

Mas Hafizul
He scored a fantastic 7.5 out of 12 in 1994 Olympiad. An exception.

Mok Tze Meng
He scored 2.5 out of 5 in 1990. Next Olympiad performed even worst, 2 out of 7 but now, look where he is !

Peter Long
3 out of 9 in 1984 Oympiad. Next Olympiad, 3.5 out of 11.

Greg Lau
2.5 out of 7 in 2002 Olympiad.

So Mr Tan Khai Boon. Please do not feel so bad. Your team mate, they are also not that great in their first outing!

Well, it is not easy to play in Olympiad!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ahli Nujum Pak Belalang
Pawn promotion in chess reminds me of a scene in P Ramlee's Ahli Nujum Pak Belalang when they played puzzle (teka-teki) with country at stake. Well, you know that scene!

  • Promotion to a queen banyak-banyak
  • Promotion to a knight sikit-siiikit
  • Promotion to a rook jharang-jharang
  • Promotion to a bishop kad'dang-kad'dang

Madu Tiga

That intro brought us to one of my favourite chess puzzle in which under promotion occured not one, not two but three times!

White to play and draw.

1. a7 Ba6

2.b7 Ne4

Black threatening a nasty 3. ...Nd6 checkmate!

3.g8=Knight +! Ke8

4.Nf6+ Nef6

Now black is threatening what seems to be an unstoppable checkmating manouevre 5...Nd5-e7 ++

5.a8=Bishop! Brilliant!! Promotion to a piece that cannot move! Now 5... Nd5 stalemate!

5. ... Ne5 Releasing the king

6.Kb8 Nc6+

7.Kc8 Bf1

Now 8. b8=Q? Ba6+ 9. Qb7 Ne4 10.Qa6 Nd6 checkmate. Beautiful!!

but white plays

8.b8=Rook! So that the stalemate threat is on!

8. ... Ba6

9.Rb7 all white pieces cannot move!

Now black got three choices

  1. Allowed stalemate by making any king or knight (f6 move). Result: draw
  2. Perpetual check.9....Ne7-c6 Result:draw
  3. Releasing the pin by say 9...Bc5 10.Rb6 Ne7 11. Kb7 Kf7 still it is a draw

Jamil...Jamil..., ku sangka dua rupanya tiga!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Below are my wish list as a chess player.

More chess prizes
It is sad. Prizes for today chess tournament is comparable with prizes being offered in the 80's, especially for weekend tourney. Sadder to compare prizes for say, fishing tournament is like 30 times more than what being offered in chess tournament. Even sadder to see is the entrance fee (like my weight) has been steadily increase every year without fail.

Chess Officials have their own KPI (Key Performance Index)
I came from a corporate background in which everybody (from CEO to teller or office boy) got their own set of measurable KPIs. At any times we know whether our staff (or ourself) performance whether it is below achiever, merely meet the KPIs or top performers.

I wish the same for chess officials. Instead of just " saya akan berusaha memajukan catur" which is very vague, (is it 'maju' as more tournaments or is it more chess development programmes or is it maju as to produce more titled players ? nobody knows ). I wished each officials got their owns public sets of KPI (depend on position) e.g
  1. to organize 4 FIDE rated tournaments in a year
  2. to have chess in Sukma
  3. to bring RM500,000 in sponsorship money for year 2011
  4. to produce GM in 5 years time
  5. to have chess seminar/classes conducted in every district in Malaysia within 2 years time
  6. to ensure all players that represent countries are being properly taken care of (training, allowances, letters to school/employers being properly sent out etc)
  7. To reply every correspondence within 48 hours

A boring "I will work to the best of my capability" or "Saya akan berkhidmat dengan jujur" is no longer enough. With these KPIs we will have more focus, clearer views or directions of the association and we can know whether the officials have been top performer or merely a chair warmer. Now even ministers also got their own sets of KPIs.

Better MCF 'website'

Currently the official MCF website operate from a free blogspot and correspondence is via a gmail. A look at our neighbours chess association/federation, they operate from more established sites such as Thailand (, Singapore ( and even Brunei (

Maybe this is not important but still with proper website or correspondences platform it will create a confidence to others (Foreign chess players, potential investors etc). I 'blame' this on my experience dealing with many frauds or money laundering cases, one of the earlier red flags sign are company claims to have million dollar business but using gmail/yahoo e-mails and blogspot. 90% it is a scam.

No, i am not saying MCF is a scam but more on to reflect confidence to others

To know who rationality is.

I wished one day i could scream and said "So its you!!" to rationality and congratulates him/her on his/her very interesting views of Malaysian chess

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Inspired by Jimmy's posting on impersonators and our current state of elections fever ( Fide election, PKR election and Galas by election), i imagines how it likes when chess bloggers went to cast their vote.

On the way to the polling stations, they talked about election candidates
Gilachess : I feel cheated. Both candidates cannot offer any new good eating places.
Hairulov: Actually i have analyse all their moves by using my latest software. Candidate A is slightly better than B.
SM: Tahun depan i pulak nak bertanding. Dana dah cukup. Pemimpin yang ada sekarang tak menjalankan tugas.
Rationality: Check your facts first before saying anything. All candidates was overall mediocre.
FirstGM: Open your mind. See bigger picture.
Bad bishop: Bakpo nok gocoh...pakat undi jah pah tu kito sambong mu'la maing catur!

At the polling station.
Gilachess: I will cast my vote by using this new state of the art pen. The ink will last longer and the price is cheap too. Heard they will come up with even better version by end of this year.
PCNT-Arshad: I can supply you that. Original and discount some more. Don't buy pirate product.
FirstGM: Everybody. Please don't forget to connect the dots and make an "X" sign when casting the vote.
Rationality: Shut the fucking up! Your opinion doesn't matter!
Bad bishop: Payoh baso. nok ngundi pong ge'ge
Hairulov:Shhh! Behave yourself!

Everybody have cast their vote except for Rationality. "Stupid!, they don't allow me to cast the fucking vote because they don't know who i am! "

Well, Rationality. Nobody knows who you are.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Look around. Musical is the in things now. We have Tun Mahathir the musical, Magika the musical and even the politician are now playing the musical chair at all time fanatism. So it is only natural if i join in this latest craze and imagine the last round encounter Malaysia vs Bahrain in musical format.

Stage 1
Before the game

In one corner we have Malaysian team, all pumped up, singing "The eye of tiger"- Survivor
It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds 'til we take to the street
For we kill with the skill to survive


Risin' up, straight to the top
Have the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

Equally, in another corner, Bahraini team, also exciting and full of spirit, singing Queen's famous song - We will rock you.

You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back in your place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

Stage 2
During the game

All quiet, the only sound is the 'click' of the clock being pushed and the scratched of moves being made.

Suddenly there is a music coming from Mas' handphone. Ouch!

The stage went wild. Bahraini players sing the modified Abba's song- Thank you for the music!
So I say
Thank you for the music, your phone is ringing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Mas, looking sad and dejected, solemly sing another Abba's song- The winner takes it all.
The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s his destiny...

Mok Tze Meng, fully focused on his game make a winning move Queen to f6. His opponent, shaking his head, resigned! giving Malaysia the slim victory but still a victory nevertheless. Malaysia manage to again finished in top 100 in the world!

Mok, relief, then sing the serene What a wonderful world by Louis Amstrong
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Stage 3
After the game

All the players, standing hand in hand, sang a modified Sealed with a kiss oldie singer
Though we gotta say goodbye for the Olympiad
Baby, I promise you this
I'll send you all my move
Every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss...

I don't wanna say goodbye for the Olympiad
Knowing the move we'll miss
So let us make a pledge
To meet in Tromso
And seal it with a kiss

and the curtain falls...

Friday, October 1, 2010


Well, with one more round to go, it looks like men Olympiad Team is heading towards its worst outing.

Historical Before-Last-Round-Position
Now we are at 106 spot out of 149 teams. Lets compare with previous olympiads (position taken with one more round to go).
  1. 1986 Dubai, 38 out of 108 teams
  2. 1988 Thessaloniki 56 out of 107 teams
  3. 1990 Novi Sad 84 out of 108 teams
  4. 1992 Manila 75 out of 102 teams
  5. 1994 Moscow 87 out of 124 teams
  6. 1996 Yerevan 57 out of 114 teams
  7. 1998 Elista 78 out of 110 teams
  8. 2000 Istanbul 80 out of 126 teams
  9. 2002 Bled 82 out of 135 teams
  10. 2004 Calvia 88 out of 129 teams
  11. 2006 Turin 55 out of 138 teams
  12. 2008 Dresden 101 out of 146 teams
but since we are always able to pull out a nice and much needed last round win (except for Turin 2006 in which we lost 0-4 to Italy), i think in this edition we will be able to do just that and still finish in top 100. Should we lost in the last round very realistically our position will be like the number of Malaysian football ranking in the world...number 144!

To sum up this olympic in a song...
  1. Men Team - between a sad "Leaving on a jet plane" John Denver or hopefully a positive " I will survive" Gloria Gaynor.
  2. Women Team - Inspiring "One moment in time" Whitney Houston
  3. Alia - Definitely "Hero" Mariah Carey
  4. Hamid Majid - Never give up " It ain't over till its over" Kravitz or is it a miss victory "Didn't we almost have it all" Whitney Houston?
  5. Chess bloggers - " The Party's over" Nat King Cole
  6. Dato' Tan - "Thank you for the music" ABBA

Monday, September 27, 2010


First, let’s measure/ compare in size

Country Size
Malaysia 329,845 km2
San Marino 61 km2

Malaysia 28,000,000
San Marino 30,000

Maybe the figure above is too one sided, to make it simple, in term of size 14 San Marinos equal to our one Perlis. For population, 8 San Marinos equal to our one Perlis.

Too make it even simpler, all they have is the population of Maybank’s staff.

OK forgive me. Maybe above comparison is not accurate, our Singapore neighbour might disagree if we want to measure strength with size or population. So let’s measure in pure chess power

Fide’s world rank
Malaysia 77
San Marino 128

Olympiad seeding
Malaysia 86
San Marino 118

Fide’s number of active players
Malaysia 163
San Marino 1

Fide’s number of inactive players
Malaysia 269
San Marino 7

Guess from above, there is no need for me to go for the overkill and compare the numbers of titled players each country possessed (though from the list of their players I suspect San Marino got more CMs compared to Malaysian two CMs) 

Third, let’s measure in chess duels history

In Moscow 1994 we met San Marino and we won 4-0
In Elista 1998 we met San Marino and won 4-0 again
We always met San Marino when Olympiad is played in Russia but the big question here is whether we can always achieve the 4-0 result.

The only advantage San Marino has against us is they have 5 playing players while so far we only have 4 playing players.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Since everybody is now in Olympiad fever, I have decided to wake up from my blog retirement/hibernation and join in this circus and write about Malaysian chess Olympic.

Malaysia has participate in 19 Olympiads since 1972 (Skopje). We did not participate in 1976 Haifa Olympiad and ofcourse being a regular Olympian, we have a fair share of interesting trivia. Some of it...

First draw: Chan Mun Fye on 20th September 1972 when he drew with Hasan Hasibul (Hong Kong) in Skopje. On the next day, he scored a ....

First win:Chan Mun Fye on 21st September 1972 when he won against Manuel Duroa (Portugal)

Most Outing: Mok Tze Meng, 8 Olympiads (From 1990 Mok took part in all Olympiads except for year 1994, 1998 and 2002)

Most Games: Jimmy Liew, 84 games from 7 Olympiads (Well, Mok Tze Meng, minus Kalmykia, has played a total of 74 games. Looks like this record is going to be broken soon!)

Best individual result: Ng Ek Teong, 1986 Dubai, scored 6 out of 7, Elo performance of 2510, undefeated and duly won best board prize (2nd reserve)

Best individual Elo performance: Mas Hafizul, 2000 Istanbul, Elo performance of 2527, scored 9.5 from 14 games. He played all games and lost only once!

Best games: Jimmy Liew wins against Yrjola Jouni (Dubai)

Most memorable game: Mas wins against Korchnoi.

Best placing: Dubai 1986, finished 42 out of 108 teams

Best upset: We beat Canada team in Turin 2006

Malaysia 2330 3½ : ½ 2468 Canada CAN
IM Hafizulhelmi 2412 1 - 0 2510 GM Charbonneau
FM Mok Tze Meng 2361 ½ - ½ 2531 GM Bluvshtein
FM Lim Yee Weng 2330 1 - 0 2466 IM Zugic
Chuah Jin Hai 2216 1 - 0 2364 IM Livshits

Worst placing:Moscow 1994, 96 out of 125 teams. 4 years later (Elista 1998) we 'equaled' this record by finishing 96 out of 147 teams. This makes me worry, we never played well in Russia... (Anon pointed out that in Dresden 2008, we also finished at 96, thanks anon)

We have also on 5 occasions, fielded players that eventually never move a pawn

  • Laurence How (1978)
  • Fang Ewe Churh (1980)
  • Anwar Zainal (1982)
  • Chew Soon Keong (1984)
  • Hamid Majid (1998)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


A few years back, a fellow Malaysian chess player by the name of MasHafizulhelmi is all out to get that elusive ‘G’ title, Grand Master. We all supported this quest.

Now we have another Malaysian chess player, arbiter, organizer and so on by the name of Hamid Majid is all out to get that even more elusive and exclusive ‘G’ title, General Secretary of Fide that is! We will again supported this quest.

A week ago, shortly after we were being badly whitewashed by GM ZR, we had the opportunity to talk to Hamid Majid about his candidacy, he mentioned:
• Karpov has contacted him and offered him the Sec Gen seat. Hamid did not immediately say yes but instead seek the opinions/blessings of MCF, Dato Tan etc before accepting Karpov’s offer.
• Hamid expressed confident of winning. (You will Hamid especially now the octopus predict a Malaysian win again Singapore-source DATCC Blog)
• Hamid explained that Team Karpov have the backing of several big Multi National Corporations (MNCs) to develop chess programmes/activities. (Hope some of the activities will be at Malaysia)
• He count on support from every Malaysian to ensure the winning (We will support you Hamid, in every little way we can)

I could not say I know Hamid well even though I started to know him way back to early 90’s. All I could say (throughout 20 years observation) he is man of many characters (depend on the environments and audience)

He could be very funny, cracking jokes after jokes.

He could also be very strict, he once gave a future Woman World Champion and her opponent zero for agreeing a draw without making a single move. Early this year I saw Hamid tearing a scoresheet of two players who agreed a short draw.

He could also be a good listener. In my earlier posting I ‘criticized’ Hamid’s decision in one of local blitz event. Shortly after that he called me and said he read my posting …( and that time I was like, ok, I was about to get thrashing from International Arbiter, help!) and asked me to explain what’s going on during the game, I duly explained bla, bla, bla he just nodded his head and occasionally asked me to clarified further. And that’s it! No I-am-right-you-are wrong attitude, no pulling his weight, no nothing! Just a simple nodded and desire to know about my ‘version’of the event.

Most of the time, he is easy going and open minded type of guy.

No, I will not gain anything personally should Hamid win (and he will win, no doubt about that) but Malaysian chess in general will surely benefits out of his win.

This posting is not about 'bodek' Hamid (bodek!? ok maybe a bit) but more on supporting another fellow Malaysian chess citizen in his time of needs.

Go Hamid Go!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


After I discovered that GM Ziaur played nearly all openings against e4. (he even once played 1...b6 and get away with it) I stop studying chess and continued reading Wayne Rooney:My story so far.

Arrive at DATCC at about 7.40 pm. There are usual face all around, Siraj, Hamid, Samsudin Sabri, Aziz, Saprin, Farouqi and ofcourse GM Rahman together with his wife and son. Haq and Roslina are also here, busy playing chess with GM's son. Razali Ng6 came about five minute late due to office meeting that he attended earlier on.

Table order
  1. Ilham
  2. Samsudin
  3. Saprin
  4. Aziz
  5. Farouqi
I refused to be at table one since in my humble opinion Saprin is the one who should manning table 1 but Siraj insist that i sit on table one. Well, we all know how persuasive Siraj is ! :)

The Game

W: Nor Ilhamuddin

B:GM Ziaur Rahman

1. e4 g6

Modern Defence. I expect Sicilian 2...e6, Nc6 or perhaps French. 2 things that immediately cross my mind is Mok Tze Meng (white) once beat GM Rahman in this defence and Andrew (black) once thrashed me in this setup.

2. d4 Bg7

3.Nc3 c6

4.f4 Qb6

5.Nf3 d5

A sharp line in which black sacrifice a pawn for active play.


6. e5 is better (GM Rahman said after the game)

6. ... Bg4

7.Be2 Nf6

8.0-0 cd5

9.Ne5 Be2


Sacrificing a pawn that black could be taken with a check. Anyway, the d4 pawn is taboo 10. ...Qd4 11. Be3 Qb4 12. Nb5 with lots of initiative for white.

10. ... 0-0

11.Qd3 Nc6

12.Nc6 Qc6

13.f5 Rac8

14.fg6 hg6

15.Bg5 Rfe8

16.Rae1 Qd7

17.Re2 Nh7

18.Bf4 a6

19.Be5 Nf6


Here Aqie whispered that the team rely on me to deliver the point.

20. ... b5

21.a3 Rc4

22.Nd1 Rf8

23.Re2 Nh5

24.Bg7 Ng7

25.Ne3 Rc6

Around here it is one to one match for us and GM duly take a seat in front of me.

26.Rf4 Nh5

27.Rh4 Nf6

28.c3 Re6


Mamak trick. Hoping for 29. ... gf5? 30.Qf5! with force mate in 14. The 'reverse gear' 29.Nf1 is necessary here. I am now got about 30 seconds left.

29. ... Re2

30.Nh6 Kg7

31.Qe2 Rh8

32.Qe3 Qf6

33.Qd2 Ne4

34.Qe3 Qf6 ??

35.g3 ??

Returning the favour. 35.Rf4! is winning for white which i saw only when i have already touch my g pawn.

35. ... Ng5

36.Kg2 Rh6

37.Rh6 Kh6

38. h4

I no longer recording the move. The game entered a queen ending with a plus pawn for black. I tried to open up the game (and hoping for perpetual check) but to no avail. later i lost on time in a losing position though black still needs to play very carefully to avoid the perpetual check.

We lost 0-5

Last but not least, thanks to Siraj for the invitation, GM Rahman for kind analysis after the game, to my team mate plus Mr Razali ofcourse.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Nigel Davies, surprisingly said in article ( )that
  • he write his books for money
  • "none of my books are a labour of love"
  • he can't stop writing because of his mortgage obligation. (sounds familiar here ;-))
  • constraint he faced due to page limitation agreement with publishers, etc

He conclude that article by analysing Jimmy Liew's win against Torre in 1986 by stating "...a nice win by the Veresov by some one who didn't read my book (it hadn't been published). Jimmy Liew uses a homemade treatment of the opening, going his own way on move five. Later, he shuffles and unleashes a fierce attack"

Davies must be very down then when he wrote the article. Who didn't when one of the comments for his Guenfeld book is "Nigel Davies: Please! Stop writing opening books!..." Anyway he is brave enough to reveal all this.

Anyway, here is that game and kindly go to the original article to enjoy Davies' annotation.

I especially likes Jimmy's 23rd move f5!! sacrificing the whole knight. My engine initially condemn that move but after the continuation 24.f6! (which engine could not find), the machine agreed that white is better. A victory of intuition against calculation!

But still after all that "confessions" at the end of his article, he recommend reader to read his Veresov book (The Veresov by Nigel Davies, Everyman 2004)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Few years back when i went for a seminar in Chennai, India, I discovered that books there (chess books especially) is not only cheap, it is dirt cheap! Chess books there got dwi pricing e.g. Modern Endgame Practice by Alexander Beliavsky & Adrian Mikhalchisin, the price is GBP14.99/Rs 175.

Here is the conversion (MYR equivalent in today's rate)
GBP14.99 x 4.8 = RM71.95
Rs175 x 7.2 = RM12.60 ...RM12.60 for a chess book!

I ended up buying like half a dozen chess books there, and paid in Rupees ofcourse, thank you very much! :-)

Modern Endgame Practice

What interesting about this book (other than its cheap price) is on Chapter 18 Endgames in Super Tournament, author has include MasHafizul wins against Hernandez

60. ... Ra1?
61. Ke7 a4?
62. Rg3 Kh7
63. e6 a3
64. Rd3! a2
65. Rd2! Kg6
66. Kd7 Kf6
67. e7 Re1
68. Rf2 Kg7
69. Ra2 Rd1
70. Ke8 Kf6
71. Kf8 Rh1
72. Ra6

On below book (No, this book i did not buy at Chennai) also mentioned about Malaysian player.

Chess:The Search for Mona Lisa
There got that famous simultaneous game in which Gufeld sacrifice his queen against Goh Yoon Wah and about that beautiful chess problems (Mok Tze Meng received the mysterious call) in which Gufeld believed is the proof that chess has been created by alien.
Well, you are right about that Gufeld, Kirsan can verified it!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Dubai 1986. Their male counterpart basking in limelight with the finest performance ever in Olympiad. So how did our ladies performance here?

Here's how.

Malaysian woman team, according to board order (and their performance) is as below:
  1. Seto Wai Ling 6/12 P=1909
  2. Ong Y.M. 2.5/8 P=1797
  3. Ong Hwa Liu 3/9 P=1779
  4. Vimalavathy 6.5/10 P=2014

Vimalathy continued to shine in her second Olympiad outing.

Top 5 Olympiad winners and our neighbour performance is as below:

  1. Soviet Union (Chiburdanidze, Akhmilovskaya, Gaprindashvili, Alexandria)
  2. Hungary (Zsuzsa, Madl, Ivanka, Grosch)
  3. Romania (Muresan, Nutu, Polihroniade, Stanciu-Olarasu)
  4. China (Shilan, Mingqian, Yangfeng, Tianjian)
  5. Yugoslavia (Markovic, Maric, Maksimovic, Nikolin)

25. Indonesia (Lindri, Tamin Darmayanti, Upi tamin, Wijaya Nanik)

30 The Philippines (Fontanilla, Geneciran, Lee, Llantada)

40 Malaysia

Let's take a look at below miniature game by best performer Malaysian player.

I like her 11.g4 move (which my engine also recommend), creating a very violent attack out of calm water.

Next stop, 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad (men)

Saturday, June 12, 2010


When we (Zaidan, Ng6 and myself) went back to DATCC after our blitz session at Hamid's, in which Zaidan keep on beating us, i asked him whether he took part in any tourneys at Ireland.

He mentioned that there is not many FIDE tournaments at Ireland, most of the time he played at Club. Then he mentioned about my FIDE rating (2040) and how i lost quite a lot of ratings in Selangor Open.

Silently I like Wow!, never know someone memorized my rating! and know about my performance!

Quickly I went to Fide website and discovered the following:

Zaidan had gain 41.25 over the last two months and stood to be at 2039 when July 2010 list come out. He achieved this when he took part in Irish National Club Championship at Dublin. 2039...2040...Aha! :-)

I also discovered that Selangor Open's result has been submitted (and many others that yet to be submitted...) to FIDE resulting in following ELO effect:

Top 10 seeded performance
  1. Nicholas Chan -0.8
  2. Jimmy Liew -3.9
  3. Ian Udani -15.15
  4. Loo Swee Leong -9.3
  5. Kamal Ariffin 25.5
  6. Nik Farouqi -17.25
  7. Kamaluddin Yusof -25.95
  8. Abdullah Che Hassan -12
  9. Gerald Soh -21.3
  10. Khair Wahiduddin 8

Top 10 ELO Gainer

  1. Syazwan Zulkifli 63.25
  2. Fong Yit San 62.5
  3. Muhammad Syakir Shazmeer 44.25
  4. Fadzil Nayan 34.5
  5. Tan Ken Wei 27.5
  6. Kamal Ariffin 25.5
  7. Yeoh Li Tian 24.45
  8. Nabila Azman Hisham 12.75
  9. Ismail Ahmad 10.35
  10. Khair 8

TOP 10 ELO Loser

  1. Nor Ilhamuddin 33.15
  2. Mark Siew 29.4
  3. Kamaluddin Yusoff 25.95
  4. Gerald Soh 21.3
  5. Sahir Sarifdin 18.75
  6. Jax Tham 17.55
  7. Nik Farouqi 17.25
  8. Low Jun Keat 15.5
  9. Ian Udani 15.15
  10. Haq 9.15

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Arrived at DATCC at about 5 minutes lates. As usual for KLites, I immediately blame it on the weather and traffic jam.

The Line Up

The Time Control
GMZR got one hour while we got 30 minutes with 10 seconds increment per move for both players.

The Game
B:Nor Ilhamuddin

1. e4

GMZR was about to reach for his d pawn, suddenly he stopped and after a few seconds (that seems like eternity to me) reaching for his e pawn. Yes! Open game!
Later after the game he mentioned that he do not want to play 1.d4 since he afraid that i might prepared something (in our first encounter 2 months before he opened with 1.d4)

Wow! a GM afraid of my 'preparation!' :-) Not everyday this happen to me!

1. ... e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. d3 b5
6. Bb3 Be7
7.a4 Rb8

Not a good move. Ivanchuk played 7. ... b4 against Aronian a few years back. Game draw.

8.ab5 ab5
9.Nc3 d6
10.Nd5 Nd5
11.ed5 Nb4

Around here we are being served with Teh Tarik halia. Thank you very much!

12. Qa4 d5
13.c4 Ra8
14.0-0 Ra1
15. Qa1 Nd3
16. Rd1 e4

A pawn up in better position!

17. Nd4 bc4
18. Bc4 0-0
19. Nc6 Bc6
20.dc6 Nb4
21. Qa4 d5
22. g3 Qa8 ?

Time trouble. Around here already left with 10 seconds.

23. Qa8 Ra8
24. Bd5 Nd5
25.Rd5 Bd6
26. Bf4 Bf4
27.gf4 g6
28.b4 Ra1
29.Kg2 Rb1
30. b5 Rb2
31.Kf1 h5
32.h4 Kf8
33. f5 Ke7
34. fg6 fg6
35.Rg5 Kf6

We played on and on, GMZR is always the one who tried to win while i am always defending. After sometimes Aziz, my neighbour resigned so that leave me alone battling it out with GMZR. I was thinking of offering him a draw but since i got 10 seconds whereas he got 50 minutes, furthermore i remember once Kasparov scolded his simultaneous opponent for want of a draw, i rejected that idea. I don't want to be the first being scolded by GMZR for want of a draw in simultaneous match!

Finally after manouevring right and left, up and down, he penetrate my position via Rg3-a3-a7. I resigned a few moves later.

The Analysis
After the game, Rusdi said i missed a win. What? you must be kidding! Rusdi then proceed to set up below position.

White has just played Rg3-a3, threatening Ra7-c7 winning. I played Kg4?losing. Rusdi pointed out that Rf2 should be winning for black.

But back home, i feed this position to engine and the verdict is draw.
The drawing line is as below:
1. ... Rf2
2.Ra7 e3
3.Rc7 Ke6
4.Rc8 Ke7
5.Rc7 draw

There goes my 'missed win'. :(

Below is the game in chess player format. I stopped writing on move 30 something since i was down like 5 seconds.

I would rather die fighting than die writing!

The Result
We lost 0-5. I am not really sure what happen at other board but i know Razali intend to post all game at his website. Right, Li?

The Thank
Thank you for Nusa Mahkota (for inviting me to play for the team) and Mr Siraj (which i suspect is the guy behind all this great idea) and GMZR for friendly advice after the game and others that i may not mentioned here.


In a few hours time, i will be playing against GM Ziaur Rahman in a clock simultaneous. This is the first time i will be playing in a clock simul and second time i will be playing against GM ZR. The first game ended in disaster for me when i played too passive

What to play?
I assume i will be playing black and it is very hard to prepare against GM ZR. He played all openings! Anyway after studying a few of his games, i can see there is a pattern in his opening. He has abandon 1.e4 long time ago. Most likely he will open with 1.d4, 1.c4 or 1.Nf3. He is most confortable in Slav territory so i have to avoid Slav Republic at all cost. Not easy since i am always a 1. ...d5 player :(

Hopefully he will go for 1.c4 in which i shall reply 1. ... e5! a'la Short when he defeated GM ZR few years back!

Then how about Nf3? Maybe i should try 1. ... b5 (his fav reply facing Nf3 )

Decisions! Decisions!

Type of play?
GMZR is a solid positional player. Guess in that case i will have to steer the game into something tactical (and at the same time risking losing in less than 20 moves!)

Partners in crime
The line up today will be
  1. ILHAM
  2. AZIZ
  4. RUSDI

Though honestly Aziz shuld be on board 1 since his rating is higher than me.

Overall strategy

  1. To play slowly ( so that he will become tired and started making mistakes- wishful thinking!)
  2. Avoid Slav (Slavic countries considered GMZR is their adopted son!)
  3. To play anti positional chess (easier said than done)


  1. He once drew with Magnus Carlsen at Olympiad 2008!
  2. Was born in year 1974 (same as myself-at least we have something in common) though initially i though he is 40 something. No not that he looks old but because he started playing international chess since mid 80s!
  3. He once beat Saprin in 14 moves.
  4. In 1988 he took part in World under 20 and finished at respectable number 32 fom 52 players. Winner is Ivanchuk and...and...and, our own Ng Ek Teong finished at number 29! beating the likes of GM Patrick Wolff along the way! Bravo!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Since the flavour of the month (June) is junior chess ( We have ASEAN, Junior Tournament in India and MSSM), it is only appropriate if i write something within this scope.

Some 20 years ago, junior chess tournament mean MSSM. Simple. There are not many under age tournament around and junior chess activities (school, district, state) are always heading towards MSSM.

All in all, I have a good fortune in entering 4 MSSMs.

  • 1988 Seremban
  • 1989 Pulau Langkawi
  • 1990 Kota Kinabalu
  • 1991 Dungun

MSSMs to me always mean travelling and meeting new friends.

My first MSSM game.
It was 1988 and Terengganu was paired against Kelantan. Facing me is 7 years old boy named Mas Hafizulhelmi. Ok, a 14 years old boy against 7 years old boy. It will be a short game...

W:Mas Hafizulhelmi
B:Nor Ilhamuddin
MSSM 1988 (Seremban)
1. e4 e6
2.d4 d5
3.e5 c5
4.c3 Nc6
5.Nf3 Qb6

I know the trick! Capturing d4 pawn will lead to a loss of material after Bb5 check. No way i am going to allow that.

6. ... cd4
7.cd4 Bb4
8.Nc3 Nge7
9.0-0 0-0

Now there is no more Bb5 check! (so i thought...)

10.Re1 Nd4
11.Nd4 Qd4
12.Bh7 check!

Ouch! I resigned a few moves later.

True enough. It is a short game! (albeit, different outcome!)

My worst MSSM moment
It was during 1991 MSSM Dungun, Terengganu. Honor for 1st board prize (team event) is between me and Selangor's Hoy Weng Keung. Our score is something like this:
Me (6/7) = 85.7%
Hoy Weng Keung (5.5/6) = 91.7%

Top board prize should go to HYK ofcourse based on the percentage but somehow officials decide that i am the winner (maybe based on i scored more points). I know there is error in this but i chose to remain silent. Selangor team verbally protested but still officials decide that i am the winner.

Looking back, i should do the right thing by declining the top board medal.

Some of my MSSM memories.

  1. During a game between Saprin and Terengganu's Lim Sim Leong, Lim Sim Leong offered a draw to his famous opponent once every 2 or 3 moves! Saprin (being Saprin) just smiled and dutifully beat his nervous opponent.
  2. During 1991 MSSM Dungun, i was given the honor to 'baca ikrar' since i am the top Terengganu player and it was played at my school. Unfortunately, I was too shy to do that and later my team mate, Hardy Jamel is the one who 'baca ikrar'.
  3. Notice that if MSSM was played at exotic holiday place like Langkawi or Kota Kinabalu, suddenly everybody shows interest to be part of contingent! Ofcourse once we have reached the destination, all of this 'interested officials' are nowhere to be seen!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It was a great night at DATCC on 26th May 2010. It was also a last round of 3rd DATCC Team Event. There are several things happen that night that worth mentioning here.

Whole UKM Team did not turn up.
First time in the history of DATCC Team Event, one whole team did not turn up! Normally it is during first round that a whole team did not turn up (maybe because of some transportation or registration problems), never during the last round. I noticed that no turn up of players are quite rampant in this edition. On 1st Edition, no turn up is rare. Most noticeable is when Haq did not turn up when his team met Nusa Mahkota. However, on this 3rd Edition, it was quite often to see Haq's turn up to play but not the rest of his UKM teammates!

My personal view this is not a good trend (walkover in the Fide rated tournament)

Yeoh Chin Seng 'lost' to 4 years old kid!
During disco time at DATCC (after 11 pm), i saw Yeoh Chin Seng was duly 'beaten' by 4 years old boy (Ziaur Rahman's son).YCS left with a bare king whereas his opponent got king and queen. YCS tried all the tricks (making illegal moves, not writting down his moves - his 4 years old remind him he need to write down moves!) as if this was not enough, IM Mok also assist YCS but finally YCS's king was being checkmated. Am i watching a play of future world champion? maybe...

(To be fair to YCS he started the game with only king while his opponent started with king and queen.) :)

Peter Long is playing!
Great to see that Peter Long is playing again in Malaysia. He drew his game, specifically contributing a vital half point to his team, generally contributing a 'shock and awe' of surprises to the whole Malaysian chess community.

Below is an example of his game played some 26 years ago (1984 Thessaloniki Olympiad) where in open field, with a swift knight move, he trapped his opponent queen!

Welcome back, Peter!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Dubai, a global city and business hubs second largest city in UAE after Abu Dhabi is the host for 1986 Chess Olympiads.

Malaysia sent a man team and also a woman team.

Malaysian Team
Malaysia was represented, according to the board order:
1. IM Jimmy Liew
2. FM Christie Hon
3. Peter Long
4. Franchis Chin
5. Ahmad Muzaffar Mustapha
6. Ng Ek Teong

As usual below are top 5 teams and neighbours placing.
1.Soviet Union (Kasparov, Karpov, Sokolov,Yusupov, Vaganian, Tseshkovsky)
2.England (Miles, Nunn, Short, Chandler, Speelman, Flear)
3.United States ( Seirawan, Christiansen, Kavalek, Federowicz, Firmian, Dlugy)
4.Hungary (Portisch, Ribli, Sax, Pinter, Adorjan, Csom)
5.Iceland (Olafsson, Hjartarson, Arnason ,Petursson, Sigurjonsson, Porsteins)

19. Indonesia (Ardiansyah, Adianto, Handoko, Sitanggang, Genting, Poha)
28.The Philippine (Torre, Rodriguez, Mirabeau, Cartagena, Roca, Toledo)
33. Singapore (Teo KS, Wong MK, Alphonsus, Chan PK, Giam CK, Ignatiaus)
42. Malaysia
59. Thailand(Sinprayoon, Sungthornpongsathon, Nainapalert, Fufuengmongkolkij, Onprom)
97: Brunei (Ja’afar, Mohd Dato, Ibrahim Ali, Hj Abu Nipah, Metussin, Ali MZ)

This is also the best placing for Malaysian ever. See below for our previous finisher.
Year 1972 59
Year 1974 59
Year 1978 57
Year 1980 49
Year 1982 57
Year 1984 50
Year 1986 42

We could finished better should Peter Long able to beat Richard Meulders (Belgium) in final round. Peter had two pawns advantage but unfortunaly he lost that game.

Individual Performance
1. Jimmy Liew (8/13) P=2445
2. Christie Hon (5/11) P=2294
3. Peter Long (3.5/11) P=2162
4. Franchis Chin (5.5/11) P=2291
5. Ahmad Muzaffar (1.5/3) P=2200
6. Ng Ek Teong (6/7) = P-2510

1. Malaysia sent its most experience team, 4 veterans 2 first timers and no 'tourist'.
2. Malaysia as a team continued to improve. We are now playing at 2320 level, bettered our previous best (Thessaloniki 1984:2257 performance) by a massive 63 Elo points. Below is how we performed over the last 16 years. Always improving!
Year 1972 2098
Year 1974 2126
Year 1978 2108
Year 1980 2082
Year 1982 2253
Year 1984 2257
Year 1986 2320

3. Jimmy Liew's bettered his Thessaloniki’s performance by 17 points to 2445 but he is not the best Malaysian’s at Olympiads. That honour went to Ng Ek Teong who scored 6 out of 7 (2510 performance). Ng Ek Teong was also 2nd board Gold winner.
4. In this Olympiad, Jimmy’s played what I considered as one of his best game. I have posted about that game earlier but now I am going to represent that game again by using chess player! Thanks to Andrew Ooi who patiently (and twice!) teach me on how to operate the chess player. This game has been considered one of the memorable games from Olympiad under heading " Quick debacles in Budapest Gambit are not very uncommon"

Next stop
1986 Dubai (Woman)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Yesterday on the last round of DATCC Sizling Rapid, I was paired against Syakir Syazmeer Azhar, Malaysia's up and coming player. In the game, Syakir has the advantage but somehow later in the endgame i managed to get the upper hand. Down with a few second i offered him a draw but he decline. OK That's good, agressive and strong will to win. Furthermore who insanely enough want to draw hen opponent got like 4 seconds left? Death is imminent. Later both of us had the arguments. Arbiter (Mr Najib) was called and he awarded the game to my young opponent on the fact that my time is 0.00 :-). I accept the decision, shake his hand and smile to his father.

Somehow above incident triggered back the memory on similar incident that happen some 19 years ago. It was at Terengganu Open 1991 and my opponent is Mr Fahor Jahudi, one of the chess columnist way back in the 80's. I even cut and paste his articles to my chess notebooks. So off we played and later Mr Fahor got the advantage (almost winning) but somehow when at one time when he want to execute the winning move, he accidentally toppled his king. I cruelly and immediately asked him to move his king. He refused. Arbiter was called and seems unsure on what to do. Later arbiter decided that the game is drawn. I was happy but Mr Fahor was upset, very upset.

Now, looking back i feel bad about it. I should just accept the defeat, resigned and smiled. That day in 1991 i acted very unsportmanship and now regret it.

To Mr Fahor, should you read this article I just want to say i am deeply sorry for what happen some 19 years ago.

To Mr Syakir, bright future for you in chess. Don't hesitate during the game. Go for the quick kill! (as also point out by your dad)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Below are some of the chess records that Malaysian chess players have created (or in some cases, have been achieved in Malaysia). Records below are not meant to be comprehensive and feel free to let me know if any of it is incorrect.

The First
FIDE Master (FM) - 26 years old Jimmy Liew achieved this in January 1984
International Master (IM) – One year after achieving his FM title, Jimmy Liew became the country first IM in January 1985.

The Most
Opponents in Simultaneous – on 26th March 2009, Ismail Ahmad played simultaneous chess against 120 opponents with final result 90 wins, 21 draws, 9 lost at Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. This feat has been certified by Malaysian Book of Records.
The most consecutive chess games played – on 21st December 2008, Collin Madhavan played 101 consecutive games with final result 69 wins, 29 draws and 3 lost at Penang. This feat has been certified by Malaysian Book of Records. To be frank I am not really sure what it mean with ‘ most consecutive chess games’. To me it looks like simultaneous, sound like simultaneous, play like simultaneous but at the end of the day not really simultaneous- consecutive instead. Question: Can Ismail Ahmad claimed in Malaysian Book of Record he played the most consecutive games (120 games)?
Most moves in a game – Mas Hafizulhelmi vs Kampen,Robin Oscar Haarlem BDO A 2009-131 moves. Mas pressured his opponent for most of the game. Later in a bishop, rook against rook ending, Kampen defends accurately. Game draw.
Most FIDE rated games played in a year -Mas Hafizulhelmi, 150 FIDE rated games in year 2008 alone. On average 3 games in a week for 52 weeks! Week!? This bring us to a next ‘the most’ category. My favorite…
Most FIDE tournaments in a week – Razali Hamzah a.k.a The Notorious Ng6!. 3 FIDE Rated tournaments in one week in April 2010. (Nf6 Invitation, 3rd DATCC Team and KLCA Open). I am not sure how he did that but I do sure hope that when he went home, he can still sleep inside ;-) Just kidding, Razali…you are the man!

The Best
FIDE Rating – Mas Hafizulhelmi, 2456 in January 2001
World ranking- Jimmy Liew, ranked 476 in the world in July 1986 with his 2415 rating. . Now, in 2010 one need to have a rating of about 2547 to be in world’s 476 (famous name now at world’s 476 something is GM Nick de Firmian)
Upset – Malaysian team beat Canada in 2006 Olympiad with the score of 3.5 – 0.5. This achievement was also officially considered, since Olympiad was first played in London 1927, as the third most upset Chess Olympiad result ever.

MAS Malaysia 2330 3½ : ½ 2468 Canada CAN

IM Hafizulhelmi 2412 1 - 0 2510 GM Charbonneau
FM Mok Tze Meng 2361 ½ - ½ 2531 GM Bluvshtein
FM Lim Yee Weng 2330 1 - 0 2466 IM Zugic
Chuah Jin Hai 2216 1 - 0 2364 IM Livshits

Olympian – Ng Ek Leong, 6 points out of 7 games in 1986 Dubai Olympiad. Undefeated. 2510 performance. Ofcourse for this achievement he has been crowned as 2nd reserve gold medal winner.

The Miscellaneous
Largest chess tournament in Malaysia - 2nd MBSSKL Open Chess Tournament 21April 2007 Mid Valley Exhibition Hall. How many participants? There are many versions, some 1250, some 1370 and some give the figure at 1400. Based on the feedbacks from participants after the event, I think nobody can be pretty sure what the exact figure is.
Longest running chess tournament – Selangor Open, 37 years, 37 tournaments and counting! But now in serious possibility of not making it to 38 :-(
Strongest tournament/match- Karpov vs Timman Candidate Final 1990 (average rating 2700). Not sure whether they qualified to be in Malaysian’s chess records since they are not Malaysian and they also no need to suffer the ‘Malaysian syndrome’ of compulsory one hour late in the first round (their match begin exactly as per schedule) but since the match was played in Malaysia and they also occasionally come late due to KL traffic jam (just like the rest of us), guess they qualified to be in Malaysian chess records.

The Vacancy
First GM – No, I am not referring to Raymond Siew’s motivational website. I am referring to current vacant position of Malaysia first Grand Master seat. Candidates are many, Mas, Ilhamuddin, Mok, Nicholas, Jimmy, Yee Weng etc. but I personally feel that Yeoh Li Tian will be The Chosen One in year 2016 (provide that the world is not ended in year 2012)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Other than my game against Norazmi in 1997 which all of the moves are theory, i have another 'feel cheated' game. This time my victim is Mirai Ishizuka, a former Japanese chess Olympiad member (Turin 2006)

This game was played in Ambank 2008.

W:Mirai Ishizuka
B:Nor Ilhamuddin
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bb5 a6
4.Ba4 Nf6
5.0-0 Be7
6.Re1 b5
7.Bb3 0-0
8.c3 d5

Marshall Attack

9.ed5 Nd5
10.Ne5 Ne5
11.Re5 Nf6

Original Marshall. This is what Frank Marshall played when he first introduce Marshall Attack against Capablanca in October 1918. Nowadays theory preferred 11. ...c6

12. d4 Bd6
13.Re1 Ng4
14. g3

A mistake. Capablanca played the correct 14. h3 . Game may continue 14. ...Qh4 15. Qf3 Nf2.

14. ... Nh2

Though looks crushing, this is not the best move. 14. ...Qf6 is better. Jimmy Liew in his book 'Chess in Malaysia' devoted a chapter on this Marshall attack and ofcourse he recommend 14. ... Qf6. I know about all this but always 'gatal tangan' to play the spectacular (though incorrect) Nh2 ?!

15. Kh2

Mistake. 15. Qh5 is better. Mark Siew played another interesting move 15. Re4 against me in DATCC Individual early this year. He won that game.

15. ... Qh4
16.Kg1 Bg3

Another piece sacrifice which should be decline with 17. Qf3 as what 10 year old S.Nithyalakshmi played against me in Dazzle Allegro early this year. I was lucky to win that game.

17.fg3 Qg3
18.Kh1 Bg4
19.Qg4 Qg4
20.Bd2 Rae8
21.Na3 Re2
22.Re2 Qe2
23.Rd1 h5

White resigned.

This is the only game in which i start with 1.30 on my clock, end up the game with 1.32 ! Norazman do this all the time but not Nor Ilhamuddin.

But i need to mention that Mirai is not in her best condition during the game. She is having a flu and wear mask most of the time.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Thessaloniki 1984.

For the first time Malaysia send their woman team.

Malaysian woman team, according to board order is as below:

  1. Audrey Wong
  2. Seto Wai Ling
  3. Vimalavathy
  4. Ong Y.M.

All unrated, all Olympiad first timer, all eager to show MCF decision to send woman team is not a mistake. So how did they performed?

The Performance

Top 5 finishers and Asean finisher is as below:

1.Soviet Union (Chiburdanidze, Levitina, Gaprindashvili, Semenova)

2.Bulgaria (Voiska, Gocheva, Chilingirova, Savova)

3.Romania (Muresan, Polihroniade, Nutu, Olarasu)

4.West Germany (Hund, Fischdick, Voklarova, Feustel)

5.China (Shilan, Mingqian, Yangfeng, Zhao Lan)


33.Indonesia (Wijayanti, Tamin, Wijaya, Nurjanah)

Overall Malaysia finished at 32 out of 51 teams. Collectively they played at 1850. Not bad, not bad at all....

Individually they have performed as below:

  1. Audrey Wong (7.5/14) P=1906
  2. Seto Wai Ling (5/12) P=1783
  3. Vimalavathy (7.5/13) P=1879
  4. Ong Y.M (1/3) P=1757

They have proved that MCF decision in sending woman team is not a mistake.


  1. Though officially finished at number 31, unofficially we finished sharing 27th place together with Greece A, Iceland, Italy, Austria and Finland.
  2. Elo Performance wise Audrey is the best in team but percentage wise Vimalavathy is better. They both contributed 72% of Malaysian's points.

Below is nice attacking win from Audrey against Haahr (Denmark). Diagram below is after white played Qb2 to e2. Audrey played black.

28. ... Nd4

Audrey sacrificed a piece for two pawns!

29. ed4 Bd4
30. Kd2 Bc3
31. Rc3 Rc3

32. Kc3

32. ... Qe5
33. Kb4 Qd4
34.Ka3 Rf6
35. Be8 Ra6

36. ... Ra4
37. ba4 Qc3 mate

A nice win!

Next stop.

Dubai 1986 (Malaysian chess finest hour)

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city is the host for 1984 Chess Olympiads.

Malaysia sent a man team and for a first time, we also sent a woman team.

Malaysian Team
Malaysia was represented, according to the board order:
1. FM Jimmy Liew
2. FM Christie Hon
3. Peter Long
4. Ignatius Si
5. Gregory Vijayendran
6. Chew Soon Keong

Probably the strongest line up so far with two Fide Masters and 3 rated players (Jimmy 2375, Christie Hon 2340 and Ignatius 2225). Top two boards are veteran and the rest are all first timer.

Malaysia almost followed the tradition of 6th board not playing. Only in the last round we fielded Chew when Malaysia met Honduras. He lost while we manage to win on the other 3 boards.

As usual below are top 5 teams and neighbours placing.
1.Soviet Union (Beliavsky,Polugaevsky,Vaganian,Tukmakov,Yusupov,Sokolov) For the first time, Soviet team does not include world champion.
2.England (Miles,Nunn,Speelman,Chandler,Mestel,Short)
3.United States (Dzindzichashvili,Kavalek,Christiansen,Browne,Alburt,De Firmian)
4.Hungary (Portisch,Ribli,Adorjan,Sax,Pinter,Groszpeter)
5.Romania (Suba,Gheorghiu,Ghinda,Stoica,Ghitescu,Barbulescu)

16. The Philippines (Torre,Mascarinas,De Guzman,Andronica,Bernal,Ramos)
29. Indonesia (Ardiansyah,Gunawan,Handoko,Ginting,Sinulingga,Cerdas)
42. Singapore (Leow,Goh CH,Chia CS,Wong MK, Chan PK,Wong ML)
50. Malaysia

For the first time, we are not the last team among ASEAN countries. :-)

Individual Performance
1. Jimmy Liew (8.5/13) P=2428
2. Christie Hon (7/12) P=2372
3. Peter Long (3/9) P=2109
4. Ignatius Si (4.5/11) P=1939
5. Gregory Vijayendran (4.5/10) P=Not Available
6. Chew Soon Keong (0/1) P=NA

1. In the first round we meet the Russian. Eventhough we lost 0-4, we really gave the mighty Russian a tough time. e.g. Beliavsky took 52 moves before finslly defeating Jimmy. It has been reported " The gong of the first round sounded on the 19th November, the day when Capablanca was born. The USSR team had to fight hard against the inexperience youths of Malaysia."
2.Malaysian team went undefeated in the next 5 rounds before we are being stopped by Philipine (1-3)
3. Malaysia as a team continued to improve. We are now playing at 2257 level, bettered our previous best (Lucern 1982:2253 performance) by a mere 4 Elo points.
4. Malaysia almost continued its previous Olympiad Policy of 6th-bord-not-playing. Our 6th board, Chew Soon Keong played only on a last round. Though he lost, from his game he showed that he is capable of playing good chess.
5. Jimmy Liew's performance at 2428 is the best so far for Malaysian at Olympiads, breaking Choong Yit Chuan's record at 1982 Lucerne Olympiad (2339 performance) by 89 points. He contributed a massive 8.5 from 13.

Next stop
1984 Thessaloniki - Woman

Monday, May 3, 2010


67 players who are young and old, man and woman, local and foreign player, half got international rating gather at DATCC to decide who is the King among them in 37th Selangor Open.

After the last pawn has been push, after the last chess clock has stop ticking ( or with the case of digital clock, has stop blinking), after the last scorescheet has been signed, Nicholas Chan emerged (again! hate him!) as a winner for Selangor Open Chess Tournament.

Nicholas Chan, hardened from 2 battles at UKM and KL Open, is first seeded and forever glued at table 1. Opponents come, opponents go at board 1 but Nicholas remained.

He begin his campaigned by beating suave and immaculately dressed Trengganu player, Abdul Rahim Ramli in first round.

In second round, King Nicholas met future king, Li Tian. Battle fought for 2 days (from 29 April till 30th April,12.30 am). After the game ended, Nicholas showered words of praise to a rushing Yeoh Chin Seng (He is rushing to go home to get some rest because in a few hours time the sun will rise again and the battle will continue for Li Tian)

In third round he beat police King, Ismail Ahmad and in the fourth round, he has been given a hard time by Lim Zuo Ren. LZR's hold the better position but failed to convert it into a win. Notice that both Nick and LZR chess style (positional) and speed (very fast) is the same. Even their heights (Skinny tall) are about the same! Case of never easy to play against oneself.

In fifth round be beat former King, Jimmy Liew in a key battle that could decide the winner of the tournament.

Next two rounds he beat Farouqi and Khair. It is a case of Dr Jecykl and Mr Hyde for Nicholas. A doctor who was trained to save life but in chess, he change to a merciless killer!

Last two rounds he slowed down. Draw with Udani in round 8.

Just as he begin the first move in this tourney against Terengganu player (Rahim), he made his last move in this tourney also against another Terengganu player (Syazwan). Game draw.

He came, he saw, he conquared.

Hail to King Nicholas! Hail to King Nicholas!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


The Decision
So finally after much consideration, i decided to take part in this year Selangor Open. Braving a famous KL's April shower, i arrived at the 'new' DATCC. Bigger and more cosier. Gone are the 'Toiletgate' days of playing a Fide rated game next to the toilet gate. The free disco music (after 11pm) is now also more louder. So Mr Husband, please do not answer your wife call especially at board 1 after 11pm, with all that boom boom boom sound, she will not believe that you are actually in chess tourney!

Before i managed to mentioned to Lim Tse Pin that i want to take part, he immediately begin his CAS selling pitch to recruit new members (apparently CAS is now in really aggresive mode to get new member) The benefits of joining are great, pay less to take part in CAS event, closed tournament for CAS member only etc. But somehow i am still loyal to now no more exist Persatuan Catur Negeri Terengganu (PCNT). Just feel an act of treason to join chess association other than PCNT but then again everything in this world has a price. If CAS is active with lots of tournaments (btw noticed that CAS quarter allegro is now no longer held) then...CAS, here i come!

The Plead
Lim Tse Pin mentioned in his opening speech that Selangor Open is now the longest organized chess tournament in Malaysia (We know that)

Last year CAS suffered a lost of about RM3,000 organizing last year Selangor Open. This year Tse Pin expect a lost will be around RM5,000 and very strong possibility that this year could be the last Selangor Open (We don't know that)

Hence, he plead to all participant to look out for sponsors to sponsor next year Selangor Open. (We will support that)

As such to my dear
  1. Wealthy reader, maybe you could consider sponsoring next year event.
  2. Well connected reader, maybe you could introduce your wealthy Golf or Mahjong kakis to CAS.
  3. Chess player, support this event!
The Aim
My aim in this tournament is simple
  1. First, not to lose rating points
  2. Second, not to lose money
  3. Third, not to lose face (by losing a terrible game)

Well so far after round 7 (and after 4 wins, 1 draw and 2 lost)

  1. I definitely will lose rating points :-(
  2. Some outside chances i might end up top ten :-)
  3. Touch wood, so far i did not suffer single face losing moment (though a lost to Nabila in a drawn rook ending is a close candidate, everybody see the drawing line except me!)

The Seeding

  1. Nicholas Chan
  2. Jimmy Liew
  3. Ian Udani
  4. Loo Swee Leong
  5. Kamal Arifin
  6. Nik Farouqi
  7. Kamaluddin Yusof
  8. Abdullah Che Hassan
  9. Gerald Soh
  10. Khair Wahiduddin
  11. Jax Tham
  12. Abdul Haq
  13. Lim Zhuo Ren
  14. Nor Ilhamuddin

The Story

Much or less the seeded player performed as expected (with the exception of Kamaluddin and Abdullah Che Hassan who went through a tournament they would rather forget. So far their combined points equal to Nicholas' points)

Worth mentioning is about Li Tian's play. Impressive!. In his game against Gerald Soh, Li Tian's bishop and rook just completely 'lock up' his opponent bishop and rook, long range pieces that suddenly could not move even a single square without being capture!. Instead of winning pawn, Li Tian continue imposing 'day light curfew' on Gerald's pieces forcing Gerald Soh to resign.

Even the blitz specialist, Nicholas Chan took two days (from 7.45pm 29 April 2010 to 12.30 am 30th April 2010) to beat Li Tian. Ofcourse by that time both players already 'drunk' with that irritating 3 decibel free disco beat.

In one of the old photos framed at DATCC, i think there is this picture of a young Yeoh Chin Seng holding an even younger Li Tian under his shoulder while Li Tian's is holding a Malaysian flag.

A future Malaysian chess flag bearer, that what Li Tian is destined to be.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Below is the story about the origin of chess that you might have heard or read it before, maybe in different versions.

The Story
The Grand Vizier, the principal adviser to the King, had invented a new game. It was played with a moving pieces on a square board comprised of sixty four red and black squares. The most important piece was the King. The next most important piece was the Grand Vizier - just what we might expect of a game invented by a Grand Vizier.

The object of the game was to capture the enemy King, and so the game was called in Persian, shahmat - shah for the King, mat for dead. Death to the King. In Russian it is still called shakhmat. In English there is an echo of this name - the final move is called 'checkmate'. The game, ofcourse, is chess.

Why a King should delight in the invention of a game called ' Death to the King' is a mystery. But, so the story goes, he was so pleased that he asked the Grand Vizier to name his own reward for so splendid an invention. The Grand Vizier had his answer ready. He was a modest man, he told the Shah; he wished for only a modest reward. Gesturing to the 8 columns and 8 rows of squares on the board he invented, he asked that he be given a single grain of wheat on the first square, twice that on the second square, twice that on the 3rd and so on until 64th square. 1 wheat for 1st square, 2 wheats for 2nd square, 4 wheats for 3rd square, 8 wheats for 4th square and so on...until 64th square.

The Shah protested because that reward is too modest. Why don't you take palaces, jewels, girls etc? offered the King.

Grand Vizier refused that all. He only want wheats (in that order) and only wheats.

OK said the King. As you wished

The Questions

  1. What is the titled of the book that i quote above story (with some amendments)?
  2. How much grain will Grand Vizier finally get (if he managed to get it at all)?
  3. What happened to Grand Vizier?
The Answers

  1. It is not a chess book. It is actually a science book written by the astronomer Carl Sagan titled "Billions and Billions: Thought of life and death at the brink of the new millenium" A very good book.
  2. Carl Sagan did calculate it and the figure is...more than 18 quintillion of grains weighted about 75 Billion metric tons or about 150 years of the world's grains production!
  3. Nobody knows. King might have gave him the Kingdom since the King failed to fulfill his 'modest' promise of reward. Unlikely. King might become suspicious and terrified with his Vizier he may ordered Viziermat. Death to the Vizier...and replaced the second most powerful piece on the board from Vizier to Queen (Likely)