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.