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)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Lucerne, a beautiful city on the shore of Lake Lucerne and within sight of Mount Pilatus in the famous Swiss Alps, is the host for 1982 Chess Olympiads.

Malaysia again sent a man team but not a woman team.

Malaysian Team
Malaysia was represented, according to the board order:
1. Jimmy Liew
2. Christie Hon
3. Goh Yoon Wah
4. Choong Yit Chuan
5. Quah Seng Sung
6. Annvar Bin Zainal

For the first time in Olympiad, two of Malaysian player have a FIDE rating (Jimmy 2270, Christie Hon 2235). Top two boards are veteran and the rest 4 are all first timer.

As usual below are top 5 teams and neighbours placing.
1.Soviet Union (Karpov,Kasparov,Polugaevsky,Beliavsky,Tal,Yusupov)
2.Czechoslovakia (Hort,Smejkal,Ftacnik,Jansa,Plachetka,Ambroz)
3.United States (Browne,Seirawan,Alburt,Kavalek,Tarjan,Christiansen)
4.Yugoslavia (Ljubojevic,Gligoric,Kovacevic,Velimirovic,Ivanovic,Hulak)
5.Hungary (Portisch,Ribli,Sax,Pinter,Csom,Groszpeter)

19. The Philippines (Torre,Mascarinas,Maninang,Yap,Cain,Lupian)
27. Indonesia (Ardiansyah,Handoko,Adianto,Milo,Ginting,Fauzi)
43. Singapore (Leow,Wong MK,Chia CS,Chan PK,Tan CK,Lim KA)
54. Thailand (Sinprayoon,Trisa,Chaivichit,Rittiphunyawong,Ruenwongsa,Kavakul)
57. Malaysia

Individual Performance
1. Jimmy Liew (5/13) P=2238
2. Christie Hon (6/13) P=2249
3. Goh Yoon Wah (7/13) P=2285
4. Choong Yit Chuan (8/13 P=2339
5. Quah Seng Sun (0.5/4) P=1903
6. Annvar Bin Zainal Did not play

1. Malaysian team continued to improve. We are now playing at 2253 level, bettered our previous best (Nice 1978’s 2126 performance) by 127 Elo points!
2. Malaysia continued its previous Olympiad Policy of 6th-bord-not-playing. Wonder why? Is it because of the low budget so we have to list down manager as a player? Or is it because we have a very strong top 5 players until our 6th board player do not have a chance to play? Hopefully someone can shed some lights on this!
3. Choong Yit Chuan's performance at 2339 is the best so far for Malaysian at Olympiads, breaking Jimmy Liew's record at 1980 La Valetta Olympiad (2321 performance). He alone (8 points from 13 games) contributed more than 30% of Malaysian points. His score would even been better should he able to convert his nice attacking winning game against Andruet Gilles (France). He lost that game :(
4. Below is Christi Hon's nice win against Juarez Flores (Guatemala) in round 10th.
White:Christi Hon
Black:Juarez Flores
1.e4 e6
2.d3 d5
3.Nd2 Nf6
4.Ngf3 Be7
5.g3 b6
6.e5 Nfd7
7.Bg2 Be7
8.0-0 c5
9.Re1 Nc6
10.c3 0-0
11.Nf1 b5
12.h4 Nb6
13.N1h2 d4
14.cd4 cd4
15.Ng5 Na5
16.Qh5 h6

Postion after 16. ... h6

17.Ng4 hg5

Sacrifing a knight to open the h-file and to exert more pressure on f6 square.

18.hg5 Rc8
19.Bf4 Rc2
20.Bb7 Nb7
21.Kg2 Qc8

Position after 21. ... Qc8


Black resign. Stopping annoying Qc6 and preparing the decisive 23. Rah1

Next Stop
Thessaloniki 1984

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Hint
Last night during 4th Round of DATCC event, the ever smiling former National Master Yeoh Chin Seng informed me about one game in early 90's that Norazmi win beautifully while representing Malaysia. A game that is remarkable enough that 'Russsian' keep on analysing that game for a long time after it was played, trying to find out the truth about Norazmi's daring attacking scheme. 'You should look at that game' YCS said while still flashing his usual friendly smile.

Doing 3 Gs (Guess, Google and Gut feeling) I think the game that YCS meant is Norazmi's win against Sabitov (Tajikistan) in 1993 Asian Team Championship.

The Game
W:Odil Sabitov

1. e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bc4 Bc5
4.0-0 Nf6
5.d4 Bd4

Even though i myself on and off played Giucco Piano, i have to shamefully confessed that i don't know about this variation. My theory end here.

6.Nd4 Nd4
7.Bg5 h6
8.Bh4 g5
9.f4 d5

Position after black's 9. ...d5. Typical Norazmi's all out attack !

10.fg5 Bg4
11.Qe1 dc4
12.Na3 hg5
13.Bg5 Ne2
14.Kh1 Ne4

Queen sacrifice!

15.Bd8 N4g3
16.Qg3 Ng3
17.Kg1 Nf1
18.Bf6 Rh5
19.Rf1 c3
20.bc3 Rf5

Black is winning (exchange up)

21.Rf5 Bf5
22.Be5 Kd7
23.Nb5 Re8
24.Bf4 Re4
25.g3 Ra4
26.Nd4 Bg4
27.h4 Ra2
28.Nb5 Rc2
29.Na7 Rc3
30.Nb5 Rc2
31.Nc7 Rc3

Why not 31. ... Rc7! winning? My only explaination is Norazmi must be in his usual time trouble problem.

32.Nd5 Rc6
33.Ne3 f5
34.Kf2 Ke6

White resign.

The Analysis
Since the game was played during Informator, Novag and Mephisto Age (instead of Chessbase, Fritz and Rybka) , the Russian, ex-Russian or Russian wannabe all busy analysing this game especially on the opening move.

Has Norazmi discovered some Theoretical Novelty (TN) worth its place in Informator?

Norazmi ?! hey, wait a minute...where is Norazmi?

Gosh! there he is busy playing basketball, totally seems uninterested in what could be the game of his life.

Vintage Norazmi! :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010


White to play and win.

Rook ending is the most difficult (and most frequently played) ending in chess. Theory behind it is tremendous. Philidor Draw, Lucena Win, Saavedra and Lasker Manoeuver (above diagram)

Lasker manoeuver ? Yes, Lasker Manoeuver maybe not as famous as his peers (Lucena, Philidor, Saavedra etc) but still it contain some fancy play.


Material is equal. Both pawns are one step away from promotion yet white, with a move in hand and slight advantage due to his king position which is nearer to his pawn, is able to pull a nice win here.
1. Kb7 Rb2
2. Ka7 Rc2
3.Rh5 Ka4

The whole manoeuver is repeated again.

4.Kb6 Rb2
5.Ka6 Rc2
6.Rh4 Ka3

Repeat again

7.Kb5 (error.7.Kb6! is correct as pointed out by Firdaus. Thanks Firdaus!)
7. ... Rb2
8.Ka5 Rc2
9.Rh3 Ka2

now comes the killer blow

10. Rh2 win!

This study was composed by Lasker in 1892 and what i like most about the manoeuver is it is only working if the chess board measurement is 8 x 8 (current measurement). Say if the board is 9 x 9 then the above manoeuver is no longer working!


Saturday, April 17, 2010


A month ago when there is a poll being conducted on whether is it ok to organize a tournament only for Malay, suddenly there is an outcry in local chess community that tournament that did not allowed certain group of people to take part due to reasons beyond their control, in this case, race (hence, discrimination) is a no no.

This is nothing new actually. I first discovered discrimination (for lack of better word) exist in chess when Cikgu Suhairy organized one chess tournament (open to all races) during Chinese New Year last year. Suddenly there is buzz on the shoutbox that this tournament is ‘racist’ and discriminate certain races (because it is organized during CNY)

Maybe. So I come up with this equation.

Chess tournament during major festival = racial discrimination

The fact that above equation did not bring out the same expected result/outcry when Jax Tham organized Thaipusam and Christmas chess tournament last year puzzled me. There is no strong protest,(if any) on the shoutbox about it. Strange!

Seems to me like a case of discrimination for one, not discrimination for others.

I decided to dig further to determine whether there exist any other form of ‘discrimination’ (…and its exception) in chess.

To my howl of surprise I discovered that in chess tournaments there are lots. Among it:
Gender Discrimination.
Simple. If you are boys you are not allowed to take part in girls tournament (But don’t worry girls, you are not only allowed to take part in boys tournament, you are encouraged to do so!)
State Discrimination
Also simple. E.g. If you are not born or working in say Pahang then you cannot play in Pahang Closed or represent Pahang. (Of course, we all have witnessed last year when a Philippine player allowed to play for one state team)
Age Discrimination.
If you are 19 you are not allowed to take part in under 18 tournament (read: age discrimination). But if you are 10 years old you are allowed/encouraged to take part in under 18 even though there exist under 10 categories.
Past Tournament Discrimination
My God! There is even this tournament being organized that do not allowed any member of last Malaysian Olympiad team to take part!
Chess Intelligence (rating) Discrimination.
Suppose to be simple. If your rating is 1977 you are not allowed to take part in under 1600 tournament.(read: Intelligence Discrimination) Exception is when your rating is 2000 but you still allowed to ‘play first’ or if somehow you have a ‘link’ to the organizer.

There is other form of ‘discrimination’. I bet my Fritz will shout “DISCRIMINATION!” in its metallic voice should it realized that they cannot take part in any of the chess tournament, even though it is so called ‘Open’ tournament.

Well, frankly speaking, to me ‘discrimination’ for lack of better words, do exist. We all need to accept that there is a tournament that we can enter and there is tournament that we cannot enter. Just because we cannot entered certain tournaments (due to conditions set up by the organizer), we should not start to shout that D word.

We, chess players sometimes just want to compete among our fellow country man, fellow state player, fellow gender, fellow age, fellow race, fellow district or fellow...whatever! What is wrong with that?

In Beatles words, we should just let it be.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
BUT, we should not let it be if in future, there exist such conditions... like 2 seats in Olympiad Team is reserved to say certain race or certain race can enter chess tournament by paying less entrance fee.
That's my friend, should not be allowed to happen!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


La Valletta, a city in Malta named after Jean Parisot de la Valette who has succesfully defending the islands from an Ottoman invasion in 1565, is also the host for 1980 Chess Olympiads.

Malaysia send a man team but not a woman team.

Malaysian Team
Malaysia was represented, according to the board order:

  1. Jimmy Liew
  2. Foo Lum Choon
  3. Chang Hing Wah
  4. Eric Cheah
  5. Abdul Rahman
  6. Fang Ewe Churh
We have a nice mix of veteran (Jimmy, Foo, Fang) and first timer (Chang, Eric, Abdul Rahman). Of no surprise with this bunch of players we have performed a best outing so far.

As usual below are top 5 teams and neighbours placing.
1.Soviet Union (Karpov, Polugaevsky, Tal, Geller, Balashov, IM Kasparov) Sorry, could not resist to put IM here :-), a mighty team that consist 3 World Champs, past and present!

2.Hungary (Portisch, Ribli, Sax, Csom, Farago, Pinter)

3.Yugoslavia (Ljubojevic,Ivkov, Parma, Kurajica, Marjanovic, Nikolic)

4.United States(Alburt, Seirawan, Christiansen, Tarjan, De Firmian, Shamkovich)

5.Czechoslovakia (Hort, Smejkal, Jansa, plachetka, Ftacnik, Lechtynsky)

15. The Philippines (Torre, Mascarinas, Rodriquez, Pacis, Bernal, Ramos)

42. Thailand (Chaivichit, Sinprayoon, Trisa-Ard, Darakorn)-Thai send only 4 players!

45. Indonesia (Handoko, Suradiradja, Iskandar, Ardiansyah, Gunawan, Kusnadi)

49. Malaysia

Singapore did not send their team while Thailand send theirs for the first time.

Individual Performance
  1. Jimmy Liew (9/13) P=2321
  2. Foo Lum Choon (3/12) P=na
  3. Chang Hing Wah (5/11) P=2130
  4. Eric Cheah (8.5/11) P=na
  5. Abdul Rahman (2/7) P=na
  6. Fang Ewe Churh Did not play
  1. Rank wise, this is the best finishing for Malaysia (49 out of 81 teams) but ELO performance wise, at 2082 this is the worst ever (?!), Buenos Aires (2108) Nice (2126) and Skopje (2098)
  2. Jimmy Liew's performance at 2321 is the best so far for Malaysian at Olympiads, breaking Chan Mun Fye's record at 1972 Skopje Olympiad (2223 performance). Jimmy went undefeated in his last 10 rounds.
  3. Both Jimmy and Eric Cheah contributed more than 67% of points collected by Malaysian team.
  4. Both Foo Lum Choon and Abdul Rahman scored their first win in the last round (14th round) against Faroe Island.
  5. Let's take a look at nice win by Jimmy against Robert Wheeler (Jamaica) during the first round. Jimmy's knight just dance around destructively and suddenly black's position is beyond save.

Black has just played 20. ...d5. From above diagram game continued

21. f5! gf5

Sac a Knight that could not be taken, 22. ...ef5, 23. e6! threatening a nasty discovered check 24. Nb5!.

22. ... Bg5

Of course this knight could not be taken. 23. ...Be7 24. Qh7 mate.

23. ... h6
24. Ng6

Next stop
1982 Luzerne

Monday, April 12, 2010


KL Open 2010
All in all 20 Malaysian have bravely and proudly carrying Malaysian name by entering this very strong tournament that fielded 20 GMs, 4 WGMs, 18 IMs, 2 WIMs etc from 22 countries.

After the 5 days tourney ended, bloods and bruises still visible, here are how our flag bearer performed.

Name ,Seeded, Finished, FIDE Rating, Performance Rating, Notes
  1. Nicholas Chan 28 16 2398 2411 Best Malaysian. Beat IM R0y (2419)
  2. Jimmy Liew 40 55 2315 1977 Morning Killer (4/5)
  3. Chuin Hoong 44 40 2294 2254 Beat IM Wohl(2441) Draw IM Tirto(2402)
  4. Nik Farouqi 65 72 2108 2084 Draw GM Vinh(2480)
  5. Abdul Haq 70 86 2057 1893 The only one that draw GM Short in simul.
  6. Ismail Ahmad 71 73 2033 2074 No draw. Beat Nafisa(2338), beat Ansari(2370)
  7. Timothy Capel 72 81 2023 1965 Draw IM Chan(2284)
  8. Marcus Yeoh 73 89 1999 1714 Afternoon killer (3/5)
  9. Nabil A Hisham 76 74 1981 2028 Fighter. No draw. 3 points against 8 rated opponents.
  10. Yeoh Li Tian 77 65 1971 2314 Impressive! Win Ansari (2370), draw GM Niaz(2413), IM Chandra(2410), Ankit(2334), IM Pratamesh(2403), IM Jimmy(2315)
  11. Khore Bean Hwa 81 87 1946 1855 Scored 1.5 from 7 rated opponents.
  12. Afiq Afyfy 84 85 1938 1917 Late draw master. 5 draws in last 5 games.
  13. Elgin Lee 88 83 1852 1922 Scored 2 points from 7 rated opponents.
  14. Nabila A Hisham 91 101 1829 1600 Fighter. No draw.
  15. Amier Hamzah 96 99 1723 1637 Late starter. Scored 3/6 on his last 6 games
  16. Razali Hamzah 97 104 1669 1777 Draw Ansari(2370)
  17. Najiha A Hisham 99 97 Unrated 1800 Scored 2 points from 8 rated opponents.
  18. Najib Wahab 100 90 Unrated 1735 Late starter (3.5 out of his last 5 games)
  19. William Lee 106 109 Unrated 1450 Scored 1 point from 6 rated opponents.
  20. Ting Shih Chieh 110 105 Unrated 1635 Scored 0.5 point from 7 rated opponents.

Green is for superior result. Red is for inferior result.

Source for the above table is from My apologized for any errors or maybe unfair comments.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The Problems
I do like to be in control. Who don't? My chess opening is therefore always tailored ' to be in control' theme. Some call my repertoire as primitive, coffee shop openings and uncompromising.

But i always have a problems against Scandinavian (1.e4 d5). Suddenly my opponent is in control. He can decide to play gambit or Qd6 or the normal Qa5. White just hopelessly have to follow black's choice of variation. I hate that. Furthermore they are many Scandy players around (Ismail Ahmad, Kamal Ariffin, Hairulov etc). I need to do something.

The Research
I browse through many books, internet, database looking for the correct defense against Scandinavian when suddenly i discovered BDG.
1.e4 d5

My goodness! Never know such an aggresive and brutal opening exist! White seems to play for mate from the first move. Endgame? What animal is that?

The game will normally develop
2. ... de4
3.Nc3 Nf6
4.f3 ef3

I become the immediate fan of this underrated opening. Now, i am hoping that my opponent play Scandinavian so i can unleash my BDG but the problem is, I hardly encounter Scandy :(

Well, since my opponent did not play Scandy (hence, i could not played my beloved BDG), my only option is to trick my opponent into playing BDG! Instead of playing 1.e4 now i played 1.d4 so if black's reply 1. ... d5 without hesitation i will played 2.e4! BDG.

The Trick
Ofcourse by now i have discovered several tricky move orders to reach BDG ta'biya. Some:
Queens Pawn Game
1. d4 d5
2.e4 de4
3.Nc3 Nf6

Indians Game
1.d4 Nf6
2.Nc3 d5
3.e4 de4

Caro Kann
1.e4 c6
2.d4 d5
3.Nc3 de4

Even from French!
1.e4 e6
2.d4 d5
3.Be3 de4

I was blesssed since at Malaysia not many players know the correct defense to BDG. Believe me, if you played 'normally', you may suddenly realized that you are in deep trouble.

But to play BDG you must be prepared either to win brilliantly or lost stupidly. No in between result.

BDG Trivia.
1.Blackmar is from Armand Edward Blackmar (1826-1888) while Diemer is from Emil Josef Diemer (1908-1990)

2.Doctor has once advised Diemer not to play chess because it has cause 'too much of a strain for Diemer's nerves'

3.Diemer was once expect he would win a Nobel Prize for his investigations on Nostradamus.

4.Diemer once send BDG's analysis to whose who of the chess world.

5.BDG, like King's Gambit, has never been clearly refuted.

"At amateurs level, all openings are sound"

Friday, April 9, 2010


Buenos Aires (English translation:Good Air) is a metropolitan city of the Rio de la Plata River. Buenos Aires is the host for 1978 Chess Olympiad.

4 years has passed since Malaysia last sending its team to Olympiad (We did not send a team to 1976 Haifa Olympiad). Fischer no longer World Champion. Karpov is. Format of the tournament has also been change. No more smaller group two tiered event. It is now 14 round Swiss event.

Malaysian Team
Malaysia was represented, according to the board order.
1.Tan Bian Huat
2.Woo Beng Keong
3.Christie Hon
4.Jimmy Liew
5.Foo Lum Choon
6.Laurence How

Malaysia did not send a woman team.

We can see that only Foo Lum Choon is the only 'veteran' player in the team with his 3rd Olympiad outings. The other five players are Olympiad virgins (Bian Huat, WBK, Christie, Jimmy and Laurence) and made their Olympiad debut here. All in all, we send a young team.

How did they perform? Well, not bad.

Let's look at the top 5 placing and Asean placings.
1.Hungary (Portisch, Ribli, Sax, Adorjan, Csom, Vadasz)
2.Soviet Union (Spassky, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Gulko, Romanishin, Vaganian)
3.United States (Kavalek, Browne, Lein, Byrne, Tarjan, Lombardy)
4.West Germany (Hubner, Unzicker, Pfleger, Darga, Hecht, Otto)
5.Israel (Dzindzichashvilli,Liberzon, Kagan, Bleiman, Birnboim, Grunfeld)

24.The Philippines (Torre, Rodriguez, Mascarinas, Bordonada, Vic Torre, De Guzman)
26.Indonesia (Suradiraja, Ardiansyah, Bachtiar, Wotulo, Sampouw, Kileng)

Singapore did not send their team.

Rank wise, Malaysia shown an improvement from previous 1974 Nice outing (57 from previously 59) though worth mentioning is this edition have only 65 teams compared with Nice's 73)

Players Performance
1.Tan Bian Huat (5/12) P=2144
2.Woo Beng Keong (3/12) P=1992
3.Christie Hon (6.5/13) P=2168
4.Jimmy Liew (8/12) P=2217
5.Foo Lum Choon (2.5/7) P=unavailable
6.Laurence How (Did not play)

P=ELO Performance

1. Jimmy Liew is the hero for Malaysian Team (8/12=67%), against the average opponent's of 2410 (highest among all Malaysian players) and contributing at about 34% of points collected by Malaysian team.
2.So far this is the outing in which Malaysia did not being beaten 4-0 though we also did not score any 4-0 win.
3.All Malaysian players did not have any Fide rating, hence we are rated 2200.
4. Woo Beng Keong scored his first win on his 12th game (Olympiad's last round) against UAE team.
5. Elo performance wise, Malaysian performance dropped slightly at 2108, compared woth Nice's 2126.

Next stop
1980 La Valletta

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Andrew 'Gilachess', when he scored a model Modern Defense's win against me in 1st DATCC Team 2009 feel he 'cheated' because all the moves he made is actually based from his preparation, video tutorial etc.

Well, I also have my own version of 'I feel cheated' happen 13 years ago. My opponent is Norazmi Mohd Noor, one of the two Terengganu chess players that belongs to Terengganu's elite, immortal club.(The other is legendary Ghalam). Others (Hashim, Arshad, Ruzenan, Rahim, Adnan, Gambit, Lim Sim Leong, yours truly etc) all belongs to mere mortal club.

While Ghalam is 'Capablanca', Norazmi can be considered as Alekhine. Hardworking, original, aggresive, risk takers. Norazmi prepared his opening move throughly (Ruy Lopez Cozio, Giucco Piano etc) and strive for complications at slightest invitation. Terengganu in 90s is blessed with these two national players with different personalities and styles, both on and off the board.

Norazmi's achilles heel are maybe his time trouble habit and predictable openings repertoire. It is just possible to predict Norazmi's opening move.

One fine day in 1997 while perusing through Chess Life, i stumble on a Giucco Piano game (Norazmi's favourite variation) played by the old masters in early 20s. In that game white played 17. Be2 which I like very much, repositioning of a bishop with a prick of venom. I had the feeling, Norazmi might not see the threat and might not know about this old game.

Below is my ' cheated' game

W:Nor Ilhamuddin
B:Norazmi Mohd Noor
1997 Terengganu President Cup

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Bc5
4. c3 Nf6
5. d4 ed4
6. cd4 Bb4
7. Nc3 Ne4
8. 0-0 Bc3
9. d5 Bf6

In this variation, don't try to hang on to the extra materials. You will lose by force. Give it back!

10.Re1 Ne7
11.Re4 d6
12.Bg5 Bg5
13.Ng5 0-0

Sacrifice a knight for initiative. Standard stuff in this line.

17. ... Kh7
15.Qh5 Kg8
16.Rh4 f5

Normal here will be 17. Re1. I played a move that i have prepared some 3 months before.

17.Be2 Bd7

A mistake. My Fritz took about 15 seconds to come up with the announcement "Mate in 14"! Correct and the only move now is 17. ...Ng6 (Ng6! Razali's specialty :-) ). Norazmi's overlook my 19th next move

18.Qh7 Kf7

Its all over. Here, Norazmi think for more than 1 hour.

19. ... Ng6
20. Qg6

Black resigned.

All the moves in this game have been prepared beforehand.

But should you happen to play Norazmi, don't count on repeating this game/line and pocket some easy point. Knowing Norazmi, he will prepared some nasty improvement somewhere along this complicated line.

I am not plan to be the one to discover his novelty!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Nice, a beautiful city in southern France, believe to be among the oldest human settlements in the world, is also the host for 1974 Chess Olympiad.

It still continue to use the format of dividing teams to smaller group. Top 2 teams from each group will played in Group A, next 2 teams in Group B and so on.

Malaysian Team

Malaysia was represented, according to board order

  1. Chan Mun Fye
  2. Foo Lum Choon
  3. Choo Min Wang
  4. Karim Wahid
  5. Jamaluddin
  6. Bernard Ng

Malaysia did not send a woman team.

Compare with previous Olympiad (Skopje 1972), we can see that 4 players made their Olympiad debut (Choo, Karim, Jamaluddin, Bernard) and there is a swap in top two board.

We were placed in Group 4 and finished number 8 from 10 teams. (1.Hungary 2.Spain 3. Belgium 4.Tunisia 5.Chile 6.Syria 7.Malta 8.Malaysia 9.Japan 10.Nicaragua).

We qualified to play in Group D and finished at number 12 from 16 teams.We again finished at number 59 but this time around, out of 73 teams! An improvement!

Top 5 and Asean (neighbours) finisher were as below.

  1. Soviet Union (Karpov, Korchnoi, Spassky, Petrosian, Tal, Kuzmin) 4 of them is World Champ!
  2. Yugoslavia (Gligoric, Ljubojevic, Ivkov, Planinc, Velimirovic, Parma)
  3. United States (Kavalek, Byrne, Browne, Reshevsky, Lombardy, Tarjan)
  4. Bulgaria (Radulov, Padevsky, Tringov, Popov, Spasov, Kirov)
  5. Netherlands (Timman, Donner, Sosonko, Ree, Enklaar, Kuijpers)

11.The Philippines (Torre, Cardoso, Naranja, Balinas, Lontoc, Bordonada)

39.Indonesia (Ardiansyah, Sampouw, Suwuh, Bessaria, Sinulingga, Damanik)

43.Singapore (Pang, Leow, Lee, Choong, Lim Kok Ann, Chia)


Individual Performance

  1. Chan Mun Fye (5.5/19) P=2095
  2. Foo Lum Choon (4.5/18 P=2020
  3. Choo Min Wang (8.5/18) P=2221
  4. Karim Wahid (7.5/16) P=2204
  5. Jamaluddin (2/6) P=2143
  6. Bernard Ng (3/11) P=2959 (Typo:2059 actually.)

P=ELO Performance


  1. Chan Mun Fye, hero of previous Skopje Olympiad, scored 5 losses in a row before managed to registered a win against Japan.
  2. Foo Lum Choon, first board Skopje Olympiad, fared even worst, 7 losses in a row before drawing his game against Guernsey.
  3. Choo Min Wang is the hero for Malaysia team (8.5 out of 18 games) or about 27% of points collected by Malaysia team.
  4. Karim Wahid, draw master, drawing 9 out of 16 games.
  5. Overall, Malaysia's ELO performance is at 2126. In Skopje it is 2098. Improvement!

Next stop.

1978 Buenos Aires (Malaysia did not send a team to 1976 Haifa Olympiad)

Friday, April 2, 2010



Population: 1 million

Chess player:1 thousand

Chess legend: 1

Yes, Terengganu has only one chess legend and his name is Ghalam Sani.

When it come to chess, Ghalam is the household name in Terengganu. Chess player and non chess player alike in Terengganu knows Ghalam. Go to any chess bangsal, be it at Besut or Kemaman, they know Ghalam. My father, a non chess player, always believed that i will be a national champion :-) , should i have meet Ghalam earlier (I first meet Ghalam when i was 14). Even outside Terengganu (especially in 90s), whenever i introduce myself as Terengganu chess player, immediately i will be considered as Ghalam's student (which is true and which i'm proud to carry)

Who is Ghalam?
Ghalam burst into a local chess scene in 80s after he obtained his law degree from one of UK's top university. He represent Malaysia in various chess tournaments such as Asian Cities Championship (1991, 1996), South Africa International Chess Tournament 1995 and others. Ghalam is most dangerous at his own turf, he once beat GM Dao (Vietnam) and become champion in one of Terengganu Open tourney in 90s.

Opening and Middlegame
Ghalam almost never studied opening. He did not believe in bombastic state-of-the-art opening. His opening repertoire consist of French Defense, Ahmad Muzaffar's novelty (because Ahmad Muzaffar show him a new move in French Qg4 line) or Giuco Piano, Mohd Noor Yahya variation (because Mohd Noor Yahya always played that line) etc.

Ghalam also did not believe in complex middlegame. He seeks simple manouevring position a'la Petrosian or Andersson.

Ghalam however do believed in endgame.

Ghalam's forte is endgame. Somehow in the endgame, Ghalam's pawns seems to move faster (while during opening his pawn always seems to move slower) and Hashim Jusoh has once said that Ghalam is one of the finest endgame player in Malaysia. He know all the intricite defence of rook vs queen endgame. Checkmate by using knight and bishop? i bet Ghalam can do that blindfolded! I suspect Ghalam also know about the Troizky Line in 2 knights vs pawn endgame.

Below is the typical Ghalam's endgame technique played at Asian Chess Championship 1996. His victim is aggresive David Chin. From equal endgame he slowly and surely outplayed his opponent.

White had just played 1. Kc1

White:David Chin
Black:Ghalam Sani
1. ... Kg5
2 Nd6 Bf3
3.Kd2 Kf4
4.Kd3 Ke5
5.Nc4 Kf4
6.Na5 Bd5
7.Kd4 b6
8.Nc4 Bc4
9.Kc4 e5
10.Kc3 Ke3
11.a4 e4
12.b4 Kf2
13.Kc4 e3
14.Kb5 e2
15.Kb6 e1=Q
16.b5 Qe6
17.Ka5 Qd5a
18.Kb4 Ke3
19.a5 Qd4

White resigned

Run through the above endgame with your engine and you can see that Ghalam played almost perfect ending.

Personality wise, Ghalam is easy going person, love to sing, love to laugh and always willing to help those in need. On many occassion, i have seen people approach Ghalam asking for help, like Don Corleone, he will listen attentively and blink! problems solved! His networking is fantastic. Politicians, CEOs Ghalam knows them all. Rumours have it that he is on the first name basis with current Terengganu Menteri Besar Dato Ahmad Said and he is also very closed with Dato Sabaruddin Chik.

I myself has once asked Ghalam's help to prepare cover letter for my resume. He immediately whisked his shiny Mont Blanc pen and started drafting a cover letter in his perfect and flawless Cambridge English. I got the job.

Somehow, beginning from early 2000 Ghalam seems to 'retire' from active chess. What a waste! I do hope that should Ghalam read this posting he will reconsider his chess 'retirement' and continue to play active chess, just like the good old days.