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