Monday, November 21, 2011


To 'Yii Ha!' Najiha and 'You Win!' Yee Weng

Don’t know how you guys did it ( winning a medal, beating the odds...) but i know one thing. You have surely makes Malaysian chess community proud! Congratulations for job well done!

Don’t know how you guys celebrate it...maybe you can do by singing below song from 80’s TV song ‘The Greatest American Hero’

Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on Games podium,
It should've been somebody else.

Believe it or not,
I'm winning a bronze.
I never thought I could be so good-.
Winning a bronze on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me.

It's like a light of a new day-,
It came from out of the blue.
Breaking me out of the spell I was in,
Making all of my wishes come true-. (repeat)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


While going through some of the games played by Malaysian player (Read: Asian Amateur Preparation!), i came across one game, Kasparov vs Abdullah Che Hassan. Oh, it must be a game between one of those Kasparov Chess Computer vs Dollah, I thought. Wrong, Ilham. It is really GM Gary Kasparov vs Abdullah Che Hassan, played in year 2000. Thanks to internet who make all this possible.

The Game
It is a simultaneous game where Kasparov played against 30 players worldwide to mark the worldwide launched of Kasparov's chess website. What more remarkable is this game is played when Kasparov is reigning World Champion and also number one chess player with highest ever rating of 2851! Unbroken till today.

And to think that Kasparov in year 2000 is mean and brutal killing machine who take his every game (even in simul) seriously and Abdullah, who is not really bloom into Abdullah we know today, yet still last 51 move before resigning "because I need to go to school" explained Abdullah, that is really an achievement.

W:GM Kasparov
B:Abdullah Che Hassan

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Many regulars are not here tonight IM Mas, IM Jimmy, IM strength Udani, Future IM Sumant, IM (International Manager) Greg and IM Haslindah. The sole representative of IM is IM Giam.

Highlight of the night
The 1chess game between Haq and Zaidan that keep everyone glued around their table, Zaidan got slight advantage but maybe is not enough to win unless Haq make some serious mistakes. Zaidan squeezed and squeezed and squeezed the dry lemon until at one time, Nik Farouqi cannot stand it and called up the arbiter, Mr Kaber, claiming that the game should be drawn, just when Mr Kaber tried to understand the nature of matter raised by Aqie, Zaidan switch his rook bringing the game to a new phase.

Why this game is 1chess? It is played at Table 1, Board 1 and maybe ended at move 111 (who knows what the actual moves are since one score sheet is recorded by the Incredible Haq and the other one is by doctor Zaidan, we all know what the typical doctor’s writing looks like…) and ended at 11.11pm. They finally split the one point allocated to their game.

Wait a minute! Maybe there is curse of sort at table one board one…last week game (Udani vs Sumant) shared the similar patent. Draw, arbiter is call, last game to finish…hmm

Result between Renegade and Carikomputer (Yes, this week the came in their standard uniform) is 3.5 – 0.5. Ok when everyone might think based from the result, the half a point must be secured by Saprin , the usual point winner and bread winner too, of the team, well that is not the case here. Saprin lost to Jianwen. Half a point is secured by his 8 years old son who drew his game against Shamsudin Sabri aka Fireyrook.

About Saprin son, they are sort of grown up in this tournament. Early rounds saw they are beaten quite easily but now they can be count to win points here and there…and they now took up tougher resistance before they lost. They also now mixed easily with their uncles, can be seen playing blitz games etc or genuinely fixed to watch any interesting games in progress…I have to say here, like father like son.

Future King (One day King or Raja sehari) Abdullah Che Hassan is here tonight, draw with CM Fadli and therefore ended his winning streak

My Game

Draw against Ismail Ahmad while the rest of my team wins. We won 3.5 – 0.5 against PJMIM. Sorry guys.( By the way still tried to figure out what is PJMIM stands for. Any idea? )

To R

Thanks for reading my blog and your nice comment about my blog. Yes, agreed that Bill Gates is not the one who wrote DOS but No, do not agreed that Relativity Theory came from Einstein’s wife and not from Einstein. Have done my research on the subject and I stick to what I said on that night. Relativity theory came from Einstein and other than this it is all conspiracy theory. Sorry R :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


If we want to make an impact or to make everybody notice about chess...guess this is the time. Success in SEA games means it will be reported on the sport’s column of all major newspapers, followed up with coupled TV interviews, and many nights of Malam Anugerah or maybe a plot of land to players etc. No, Datukships is not possible i guess.

Anyway, bottom line is, success in Palembang means no more only the lonely reporting in some miscellaneous column or entertainment column etc that only chess players read. It means now everybody notice chess, chess players and local chess success stories.

Since SEA Games is like once every two years and even that there is no guarantee chess will be included in it on the next edition. So i is now or never for Malaysian chess!

Aptly worded (with some minor changes) by Bon Jovi in this song titled ‘It’s my life’

This ain't a sport for the broken hearted
No silent prayer for the faith departed
And I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud...

It's SEA games
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's SEA games)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my game

This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Jimmy and friends who never backed down
Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks

It's SEA Games
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's SEA Games)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

You better stand tall
When they're calling you out
Don't bend, don't break
Guys, don't back down

It's SEA Games
It's now or never
'Cause I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive..(repeat)

To Malaysian Chess players who are currently competing at SEA Games, All the Best!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It is a great time last Tuesday night. Weather is good, and with most of the schools are closed... traffic is not heavy and most of the players arrived at DATCC before 7pm.

I arrived at DATCC early (6pm) and noticed Puan Zuraihah is busy checking SEA Games players clothes. Turn out that SEA games players got their clothes on this day and Haslindah...and Li Ting are busy (and excitedly) tested the shirts...ah, what to do...the sacred, unfathomable, mysterious relationship between woman and new clothes that we, man will never understand!

Their male counterpart are more reserved...i cannot see Jimmy or Mok wear the Baju Melayu with songkok! :)

So with SEA Games players (some with parents), DATCC Team players (some with wives) and Siraj and few others, it is simply a good turnout last night...though ofcourse, i know many male players are frustrated because one particular player did not turn out...i know! :)

Highlight of the night.
Game of the round will simply be a game between between Ian Udani vs Sumant. Both players shows determination to win, Udani by putting a bottle of 'oil wind' (minyak angin) on the table and Sumant, like Kasparov did when he is ready to rumble...unwrist his watch. Halfway through the game when i though black has some play on Q side, The Masters (IM Jimmy, IM Mok and NM Chin Seng) who commented about the game thought otherwise predicting black will soon be in trouble. True enough soon Udani's attacking scheme appeared but Sumant defended stubbornly and finally pieces on the board reduced to King, Queen and two pawns each. Repetition of moves happened and Sumant offered a draw to Udani, Udani declined but after that he still repeated the move. Sumant called up the arbiter, Mr Kaber, explaining that it is a draw. Some mild protest from Udani but after Sumant and Kaber shows that there is actually 3 moves repetition, Udani extended his hand accepting the draw result.

No less exciting is the 'David vs Golliath' game, the tallest player (Dr Zaidan) vs ...err, not so tall player (Li Tian), just like the epic which is decided by a tiny stones, the game also decided by the tiny pawns, which Li Tian has one extra. Result? also like the epic!

In Ahmad Saifuddin vs Jianwen, initially i thought that Jianwen blundered leaving his queen en prise but later Jianwen shows his deeper understanding of the position when his b pawn which is located at center of the board cannot be prevented from reaching queening square at a1, in process sapu a few white pieces. (Note: Jianwen informed on below comment that actually it is g pawn queening at h1-Ilham 11/11/11)

Zambri vs Kamaluddin Yusof, what a game! both side leave their king in the middle of the board and in danger of being checkmated. To have an idea about this wild position...put pieces inside a box, shake it 4 times and poured it down a few feet above the board... you'll get the picture. Zambri lost.

IM Mas vs Tun Seri Lanang, Mas won in his usual simple style, picking up pawn after pawn and gave his opponent no counterplay whatsoever. Mas make it looks very easy..though the truth is, it is not!

Dato Tan is playing (he lost the game to Razief) and after the game was over, seen wondering around sportingly looking at his team mates games in progress.

Most photographed player of the round is simply Azahari Md Noor, who make a comeback after a long... a very long break from chess hence activating his dormant 2130 ELO rating. Sitting next to Ezmi (who also make his first appearance, Ezmi won against Alex Zulkarnain ), cannot fail to notice that one got a lot of hair, while the other one....:). Jangan mare, just joking! For record he drew his game last night against Zulhairi. Welcome back, Azahari! Glad to see you playing chess again!

If i am not mistaken the first 2 games that finished last night are wins by Haslindah and Khairun nisa against their BERNAMA's opponent. A case of ladies first!

Carikomputer did not wear a uniform shirt for last night game. For record they drew with PJMIM.

Abdullah Che Hassan was not here last night, hence could not continue his winning streaks. Must be busy preparing for his big day!

Few players made their maiden appearance, Azahari, Ezmi, Fairin, Syazrin, Song Wai Cheng, Dato Tan and few others.

I did not play on this round.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


It is kind of sad, pathetic even, when few years back, 2008 if i am not mistaken, i first got my FIDE rating of 2059 and with that magical figure, i am the highest rated Terengganu virtue i am the only Terengganu player who have FIDE rating! So it is also correct to say with that rating i am the lowest rated Terengganu player.

Still even though officially i am the highest rated Terengganu player (In this case i like to see the glass half full), i still dare not say that i am the strongest player because i believed Norazmi, Ghalam and maybe Hashim, are better players than me. However it gave me nice feeling to know i am, international rating wise, is the number one Terengganu player. :)

But i know the day would come when my ‘reign’ will be over. Over time more and more Terengganu players took part in FIDE rated tournament and obtaining ratings. Among them are Hafez Hilmi, Rahim Ramli, Syazwan, Gambit and few others. Conspicuosly missing from the list is teacher of Terengganu chess, Mohamad Arshad. :)

OK to cut it short, that day came few days ago when FIDE published November 2011 list, Syazwan is rated 1994 while mine stuck at 1984 ( I consider it as a cosmic jokes since I love most things 1984, songs, movies, tv series etc and wham! there you go...a rating of 1984 for me).

Ladies and Gentlemen...please welcome.....Mohd Syazwan Zulkifli aka SKY.

Mohd Syazwan Zulkifli
1992 Fischer makes a comeback after 20 years missing in inaction, Mikhail Tal died...Syazwan born.

His chess progress is amazing...see below
13 years old started to play chess
15 years old started to take up chess seriously.
17 years old, finished second in 2009 MSSM, behind FM Anas Nazreen

2 years after MSSM, now 19 years old, he is just everywhere!
3 weeks ago he finished third at UPSI (behind Mas and Udani),
2 weeks ago he finished first (perfect 9 from 9 rounds) at Terengganu Elite Tournament beating the likes of Norazmi, Hashim, Ruzenan, Rahim, Arshad etc.
Last week off he went to JB, finishing 2nd beating IM Mok in process...and still all this he did while he is a full time student (among best student there so i heard) at Universiti Malaya.

God knows what is his achievement will be in future if he continued to progress like this... a chart like the gold price chart (up up away!) while mine is more like the chart of KL Composite Index

By the way in case you wondered why he is known as SKY among his it because of his heavenly aim, hence SKY? No, actually it is more due to earthly thing...SKY is because he is just so fascinated with Skyline car!
Well, if that the case, lucky he did not fascinate with Lamborghini cars (or else his nick name will be LAMB) or Daihatsu cars (DIE)...but then again, nobody now put a poster of Daihatsu car in his room.

To SKY, congratulation and all the best!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


November Rain
I started to believe that KL's weather got its own duty rooster. A rather accurate duty rooster that is. Morning till 4.30 pm, sunny. 4.30pm to 4.45pm dark, 4.45 pm till night rain. Yesterday is no different resulting in DATCC Team's chess player needs to brave the rain and the usual traffic jam. However all players arrived on walk over wins was registered.

Of interest last night
NM Kamal Ariffin vs Udani. Kamal opened the game with 1. b4 !?. Kamal lost the game.

Jax Tham vs Haq. Haq arrived 55 minutes late. Still, slowly and steadily he smiled to his opponent (who must be very frustrated by sudden appearance of the opponent ), slowly locating for his pen...wrote down details on scoresheet and finally make a move. No hurry at all. Of such peaceful and calm behavior...of no surprise produce peaceful result. Game draw.

Sumant vs Saprin. Saprin is playing his school days favourite opening, Dragon (btw have you guys noticed that everybody today plays Dragon?!) with set up similar to Mas vs Najib. Heck, even the c3 exchange sac is also similar (but again that is one the main theme or tabiya in Dragon). Result wise...not similar. Draw.

Carikomputer still maintained their uniform shirts for whole team. If there is such an award as best dressed team, my vote goes to Carikomputer dot com.

There must be something happen on the game Hakim vs Khairunnisa (also the last game to finish) when i notice arbiter re setting the player's time. But since it is already 11pm at that time, i did not check it out what happen and left DATCC shortly afterwards.

In battle of IMs (IM Giam vs IM Mas), Mas won the game picking up white's pawns one after a word of picking up ripe apples.

Good to see Terengganu's best Unrated Player(FIDE), Hashim Jusoh, is here tonite playing against a dangerous Pinoy, Michael Angelo Palma who coupled of days ago won Goon Cup at JB collecting a cool RM1,000. Result? Hashim lost on time in a hopeless position.

To the best of my knowledge, Abdullah Che Hassan is the only player now who plays 3 times and won all the games!

If on the 2nd round, there are 3 matches ended with 4-0, this round saw 3 matches ended with 3.5 - 0.5 (Kelantan vs DATCC Senior, Najib's rojak vs Carikomputer and Too less Ordinary vs Nusa Mahkota)
2 matches ended peacefully (17cc vs Seahorse and Swordfish vs Renegade)
PJMIM is the only team last night achieving perfect score beating BERNAMA 4-0.

My game
Draw with Irman Ibrahim. Owen's Opening. 13 moves draw. Some says it is a coward draw...i would like to think of it as saving the best for Asian Amateur...alasan! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Malaysia ‘Tiger’ vs Russia ‘Bear’... It is not something new that Malaysia faced the mighty red machine in chess...though it is always in a first round and Russia always fielded their reserve (and still won heavily)

But tonite is different. Russian could not afford to take Malaysian player lightly. I have a feeling that tonite is going to be a good hunting night for Malaysian tigers


Thanks for the suggestion Jimmy but maybe the kids, sorry tigers i mean, need something more aggressive.

For tigers, song for you.

I gotta feeling (Black Eyed Peas)

I gotta feeling that today’s gonna be a good day
That today’s gonna be a good day
That today’s gonna be a good good day (x3)

Today’s the day
Let’s live it up!
Under 16 Olympiad!
Lets win the tourney
Look out and smash it
Like Oh My God
Jump off that board
Keep watchin’ checkmate!

I’ll know that I’ll have a ball
If I get down
And go out
And just loose it all
I feel
stressed out
wanna let it go
Lets go way out spaced out
And loosing all control

Check! Check! Check!Check!

Fill up my scorsheet
Brilliant move!
Look at his sweat
Just take it off
Lets paint Istanbul
We’ll shut it down
Let’s burn the roof
And then I’ll do it again

I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night (x2)
Tonight’s the night
Let’s live it up
We got our moves
Lets played it up

Go out and smash it
Like Oh My God
Jump off that board
Lets get get OFF
Fill up my scoresheet
Brilliant moves
Look at his sweat
Just take it off
Lets paint Istanbul
We’ll shut it down
Lets burn the roof
And then we’ll do it again

Lets do it (x3)
Let’s live it up
Here we come
Here we go
We gotta rock
Easy come
Easy go
Now we on top
Feel the shot
Body rock
Rock it don’t stop
Round and round
Up and down
Around the clock
Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday,
Saturday and Sunday
Get get get get get
With us you know what we say
Party everyday p-p-p-party
Party everyday
I gotta feeling that today’s gonna be a good day
That today’s gonna be a good day
That today's gonna be a good good day(x2)

All the best Malaysian Tigers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The Conversation
Me :I think maybe it is a good idea to go for a family vacation at Penang during this school holiday.
HM :Yeah, agreed! Maybe we should go during Awal Muharram’s holiday. Long weekend!
Me :Err...that day cannot...i have chess tournament during that time.
HM :Chess tournament? How come you never inform me about it before?
Me :I did, maybe you did not listened...Never mind... How about on 10th December?
HM :Hmm...OK also...but where to stay?
Me :You decide!
HM :(Smile) How about...........

So that is how i obtained my permit and visa to take part in Asian Amateur from my ‘Home Minister’...a typical conversation or modus operandi that i believe also happen in other chess players house...when we pay for our guilty feeling being away from family to take part in chess tournament...

The conversation will happen again in the future, no doubt about it...because we just so in love with the game...and so in love with our family too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A simple mathematic equation, afternoon afternoon before DATCC is located just a stone throw away from Masjid India are equal to traffic it is no surprise that when the game begin at 7pm, almost half of the players are yet to arrive. However by 7.30pm, most of the players are here already.

Cannot blame if result wise, one thought that this is a first round...just so many 4-0 results!
Too less ordinary produce an extraordinary result beating DATCC Sr 4-0.
Carikomputer turn to ‘Carimangsa’ behaviour by defeating BERNAMA 4-0.
And 17 chess club joining the 4-0 clubs above by winning against renegade 4-0

Other result
Nusa Mahkota drowning Seahorse 3-1
Swordfish hide their sword to peacefully draw 2-2 with PJMIM. (resultwiselah peacefully, game wise brutal)
Kelantan failed to eat Najib’s Rojak Team. Draw 2-2

Of interest are Udani vs Jimmy (Jimmy lost), Haq vs Izz (Izz won in an exciting rooks ending, also the last game to finish) . Andrew , a pawn up, blundered a piece when allowing his opponent, Syed of 17 CC, a nice combination. Thanks Andrew :) .

My Game (Ladies Night)
Played against Haslindah. I was lucky to win. Honestly i was thinking of resigning the game on move 11. Yeap, move 11!

See below position. I am having a black pieces.

My black lady has ventured alone, shopping for a cheap c4 pawn, at my lady opponent’s territory. Ofcourse, after e4!, she’s dead and i can safely resigned and can go home to be with my lady and two girls and maybe watching some girlie TV show ( I am always out vetoed) ... Anyway, she played e3? Phew!!

Guess ladyluck is smiling to me...:)

Below is the full game.

Yes, no 10pm disco beat...replaced with 12am firecrackers!

At least 3 players (maybe more) have a perfect score
1. Abdullah Che Hassan
2. Saprin
3. Zambri

Wan Shahrina (BERNAMA) is not here tonite.

Monday, October 24, 2011


1. In few hour time, five our young warriors… tigers all… will start to unhide and using their sharp claws and fangs, display swift killing manouevre, show off awesome fighting power and roars mightily at World Under 16 Chess Olympiad. Don’t believe me they are all tigers?…I dare you to do the stupid thing like challenging anyone of them in chess game… in a word of Spassky when asked about Fischer, it is not whether you will win, it is whether you will survived!

2. 'They' above are refers (under no particular orders) to Yeap Eng Chiam, Roshan, Li Tian, Jianwen and Elgin Lee. Our junior but we all know, are all veteran in collecting success after success (and prize money too…) in chess.

Pss, Jianwen..i take take you will not play when our teams meet tomorrow, right? :)

Natural Born Killer...Malaysian Junior. Go and get them, boys!
Pic from Jeffrey Wong

3. They are seeded 10th. Have I told you somewhere in my earlier unrelated posting that 10 is a nice number? The perfect ten, good striker wear ten, and NM LZR when he won this year national Closed, he was seeded number 10 etc ?...Well, now Malaysian Junior is seeded number 10th, ahead of Georgia and England, definitely a good sign!

4. Maybe Malaysia should be seeded higher, after all Li Tian and Jianwen did beat their opponent (Haslindah and Sumant respectively at FIDE rated DATCC Team Event) a day before their departure to Turkey so basically their ‘live rating’ is higher. Seriously consider informing the organizer about this so Malaysia can be seeded higher…maybe 8 (even nicer number)…but when I read about other countries junior achievement, like India’s Sahaj Grover who finished 5th at recently concluded Hoogeveen Open …with 2574 performance…well, maybe it is wiser if I keep silent on this.

5. To all Malaysia young, ruthless, warriors…good luck and all the best! Most importantly..have fun!

Turkey was hit by 7.2 Richter earthquake that killed hundreds. Our prayers are with the victim of this earthquake.
To all, i guess... not to worry so much about this. Distance between earthquake location and Istanbul is like 1200 kms…that is far…something like KL to Bangkok. Location wise also, it is close neighbour to Iran… that far.
Distance wise KL and Sumatera, which is of more active earthquake spot, are like 400 kms…we are in fact 3 times nearer to earthquake spot than them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today marks the beginning of the 4th DATCC Team event. All in all there are 12 teams taking part and based from the list, i would say it is a balance list. We have junior players (and some are very junior players), senior players (and very senior players too), females etc

At 9.30 am we have a players meeting. Among matters raised/highlighted are
• Change of last round. From the scheduled 24 December 2011 to 17 December 2011.
• On weekdays, game will begin at 7pm instead of 6.30pm.
• No switching of players allowed.
• Waiting time is one hour.
• Draws can only be offered after 10 moves.
• Appeals Committee. Najib suggested each team nominate one candidate via e-mail. List to be finalized/confirmed on 25th October 2011.
• Handphone. Cannot ring but can vibrate. Najib spend quite sometime on this, no doubt tried his best to make it flexible... but to make it simple...just off the damn thing!
• Pairings/ results will be e-mailed to team captain.
• Players can consult captain on draw offers

On lighter note, Najib informed that now DATCC no longer have 10 pm onwards free disco beat...(shall check it out this Tuesday), there is special mentioned, followed with well deserved round of applause on Saprin’s team (Carikomputer dot com) that consist of Saprin Sr and his 3 Saprin Jrs! Ok, now maybe today his team name is Carikomputer Dot Com..named after Saprin 2 or maybe 3 very successful computer shops...i have this feelings in 2 years time (maybe earlier) the team will develop to be a ruthless Carigaduh Dot com...takut! :)

1. Najib's Rojak Team
2. Kelantan Chess Team
3. DATCC Seniors Team
4. Too Less Ordinary
5. Nusa Mahkota Chess Club
6. Seahorse PETRONAS
7. 17 Chess Club
8. Carikomputer Dot Com
9. Swordfish PETRONAS
10. BERNAMA Chess Team
11. PJMIM Team
12. Scratched Team

First Round
Among some interesting games/results are Jianwen beat Sumant and well...I drew with Mashafizul. :)

Below is my game.

Back home i did some analysis on this game. To my surprise from the final position, i am actually winning!

Below is some of the possible line.
1. hg6 fg6
2. Rh6 Kh6
3. Qf7 mating

During analysis Zambri spotted similar idea on slightly different position but it never occurred to me that it exist on the very position when the game draw!

For record 17 Chess Club lost 1.5 – 2.5 (i draw, Zambri won against Haq, Ariez lost to Abdullah Che Hassan, Max lost to Farouqi)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Guess it is time for me to say goodbye to you, my dearest chess companion.

One who always loyally accompany me, come rain or shine, to my many chess tournaments.

One who always silently listening to my many private boasting on tournaments win …that I guess not many …or my ranting and suffering and cursing too... on disaster tournaments… that’s for sure is a lot.

One, whenever we are together, who always, in your own mysterious way, gave me many inspiration on what to write on this very blog.

You for sure are never a trophy companion but for a guy like me, you are a Ferrari. I accept you as what you are the way you accept me as who I am… but then again age is catching up, you become tired easily… and difficulty in waking you up in the morning, cold morning especially ...and that day, when you suddenly sleep in the middle of the busy Semantan road!

I bet you understand…

It is time for me to say goodbye to you, my ol’ Yamaha sports kapchai.

Tomorrow’s ride will be the last one you will serve me. After that I have to return you back to the place where I bought you and they will groomed you again I am sure and not long you will have a new master.

Serve him well, buddy…the way you always served me and please do not forget to give me that friendly honk or maybe that blink, blink of your front eye…should our path do ever cross again.

All the best!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Tournament
All together there are only 30 players took part, maybe this is because there are two other tournaments (at Shah Alam -Insofar and Malacca) held on the same day. 15 rounds, begin at about 10.30am and finished at about 3.30pm with solid one hour lunch.

Very efficiently conducted by young Mr Kaber. in fact, most of the time Kaber is just standing there watching games in progress. He jot down the report there and then. In fact, if your game happen to be the last game to finish in that round, shortly after the game finished and after you have cursed your bad luck or blessed your lucky star... and started to reconstruct back the pieces...tup!,next round pairing is up again!...That efficient and any pairing faster than that I predict could only be achieved by Nostradamus.

Mas vs Najib
In the first round, and on the first board the encounter is IM Mas vs Najib Wahab...:)...and gosh, what an encounter! Najib played like player possessed and keep on sacrificing piece after piece after piece!...and winning! Totally have no respect to his IM opponent.

After the fireworks show by Najib is over, the position is...Najib is a piece down but 5 healthy pawns up! The Dragon pawn some more. Mas also readily admitted after the game that Najib is winning but unfortunately he played few inaccurate moves beginning from move 32...and Mas escaped with a win.

They say blitz game got no value...but when Najib nearly brilliantly beat Mas with the disadvantage black pieces, of course there is value to it. Below is the game.

Fasten your seat belt....


Mas Hafizulhelmi
After that first round scare...the tournament is all Mas. He just keep on winning game after game after game...the general feeling among the rest of us is...who is next we are going to feed to hungry Mas? Ofcourse, undeniably in some game (especially against Dr Zaidan) Mas is losing but he is very resourceful in creating unbalanced position in which it is easy for his opponent to make mistakes. Mas finally beat the soft spoken Doc even though at one time Mas is two pawns down.

And in Jax vs Mas game...We, (myself and NM Kamal Ariffin) watched the game from the beginning...Kamal after he beat his opponent in 4 or 5 moves, me because i got bye :( in that round... silky smooth performance by Mas. It is a Sicilian game in which Jax, castled queenside, advance all his king side pawns where Mas king's castle...Mas just tap the position here and there and a bit at the middle, advance his queenside pawns...and its all over. Mas make it looks so easy. Both Kamal and me just shake our head in silence... he understand the position like cab driver understand roads of KL. Every lorongs, short cuts, holes, traffic jam, complete where to get best food etc of the position is inside his head. Literally.

I have the opportunity of chit chatting with him during this tournament. He is kind enough to provide few tips to excel in chess like the needs to master (master, not a mere 'know') the endgame etc. The tricky knight bishop checkmate...rook vs queen pawnless endgame...ok, all this normal until later, unknown to Mas, one player informed me that Mas is teaching him how to checkmate (knight, bishop vs lone king) blindfolded!

Ofcourse Mas is very humble about his knowledge. Talking to him, he lowered himself to 'kito' or we...'kito nie, hok asah nie pong tok pahe lagi...' etc ' we sometimes do not even understand the basic...' but i know Mas is not 'we', the patzer. Mas is in different league...

My performance.
Don't ask! Did i told you i got bye in round 9 or is round 10...go figure it out how i performed!

The Winner
1. 'The IM' Mas
2. 'The CM' Fadli
3. 'The Doc' Zaidan
4. 'The Sifu' Jax Tham
5. 'The Tricky' Abdul Shukor
6. 'The Agdestein' Ezmi
7. 'The NM' Kamal Ariffin
8. 'The Smiley Assasin' Najib

Monday, October 10, 2011



Libya (Sirte)

Germany...and Thailand too!

Greece vs Debt

Usain Bolt

Friday, October 7, 2011


1. The 4th DATCC KL Open Team Event with RM400 entrance fee, will start on 22 (2+2) October 2011 (2+0+1+1). Each match will be played over 4 boards and the venue is ofcourse at DATCC Centre, 4th floor Kompleks Wilayah.

So many 4s and Chinese normally did not like it because the pronounciation rhyme with death (si). Chinese are not alone in disliking of number 4, most of the Malay ladies are also don't like number 4 though most Malay men will naturally loved number 4...follow the foot step of the Prophet! come the fast, exciting reply...normally complete with the smiling face.

2. I have been taking part in 3 previous DATCC Team and i do not intent to miss this one. I informed Najib of my intention to take part and since i do not have any teams, have asked him to put my name on the 'available players pool'. Two weeks ago Max called me asking whether i am available to play for 17 Chess Club. Immediately i said yes and shortly afterward informed Najib to drop my name from the pool.

3. I just love this type of tournament... Sort of like to unwind after the hectic office hour...a game a week...with friends that shared similar interest...and the analysis after the game...and maybe a round of teh tarik after the game (even better if we could have one during the game!-hint!-)...and the sonic boom sound from disco nearby...Man, just love the environment! Sort of like sanctuary for chess lovers.

3A. My personal aim on this tournament is of course to win as much points as i can for my team but i will be fairly satisfied if i am not losing any rating points here and i hope that 17 Chess Club will finish among the prize winner. See you there!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I like articles here. Can i re-publish it on my blog?
Thank you and yes, you can. No, problem and do not required my prior permission but any reproduced article must be credited to 2010 Chess Odyssey. Give me credit sikitlah.

Your writing...comments on shoutbox...wonder do you eyeing any of the MCF’s (or other association) position?
NO! Plaese don't torture me. I am a chess player who enjoys playing chess and also enjoying writing about it but position in MCF...? That is a definite no, no for me. Ok lets me rephrase it. That is definitely NO NO NO for me.

I am just not the ‘berpersatuan’ type. Let put it this way, I love playing chess, love writing about it, but to be involve in any chess association is something that is so not me. The meetings, meets people, planning, meeting again, cannot freely air your views because it may represent the association’s views....thanks but no, thanks!

Congratulations! You got number 2 in recent SM Mini Blitz tournament.
No, Ilham that got second place there is not me. It is another Ilham. (I am enjoying myself at Cherating on 24 September 2011) After all i am not the only chess player with ‘Ilham’ name...

To clear the air once and for all, maybe CM Fadli could be kind enough to publish the picture of all the winners if you guys still do not believe that the second winner there is not me. CM Fadli?

Monday, September 26, 2011


1. 'Kedai Aziz' or roughly translate as ‘Aziz’s Shop’ is not really a shop/restaurant. It is a stall, typical Terengganu’s thousand of stalls that dotted the landscape that served World’s finest Nasi Dagang or Nasi Minyak , Nescafe Peng etc.

Kedai Aziz is a wooden stall, cement floor and roof from zinc and nicely place under the large ‘Ara’ tree. It has about 6 or 7 tables and it can be divided to 3 parts. Proper stall, chess corner and checker corner. No, no toilet here though many regulars unashamedly act as if Kedai Aziz got one... Openly.

2. Kedai Aziz closed on Friday and operating hour for Kedai Aziz is from 7.30 in the morning till 6.30 in the afternoon with the exception on Thursday (or the ‘Hari Khamis Malam Jumaat’), somehow on 'hari Khamis Malam Jumaat', Aziz, the owner can be seen closing it early by half an hour. Wan Mamat, the contractor and one of the regular can always heard teasing Aziz “Asa ari Khamih Ma’lang Juma’’lek awa” or roughly translate as whenever Thursday’s night you come home early!

When Wan Mamat not around on Thursday i blurly said to Aziz the some words uttered by Wan Mamat though not really understand the significant of the night. :)

3. From late 80’s up to late 90’s, Kedai Aziz is the unofficial centre of Terengganu chess. (Before it was ‘Jalan Kamaruddin, belakang Wisma Armon’ and now that honour went to Dungun). Ghalam, Abdullah Yunus, Arshad, Azli, Adnan, Hashim, Lim Sim Leong, Ghani, Cikgu Mat, Bak, Awie, Zailan, Gambit, Ustaz Ali, Aik Kiat, yours truly are the regulars here. Norazmi, Rahim somehow dislike the place.

4. Whenever PCNT got some cash flow problems, Aziz is the ready banker to advance his money first. Once the association got its cash from Majlis Sukan, Aziz will be immediately reimbursed. Aziz luckily did not charge us any interest for this uncollateral loan!

5. ‘Kedai Aziz’ is definitely not Cafe de la Regence that could attract artist (Voltaire, Rosseau) or VIPs such as Napolean but still on and off you can meet the late Aziz Afkar here (Aziz Afkar is the writer of ‘Hartini). Aziz is the chess lover and proudly said he learned chess from Chessmaster programme. On and off local politicians will drop by here for a lunch or maybe a game of checker. If i am not mistaken, NM Kamal Abdullah used to play chess here.

6. Time did not move slowly here, time crawl. It is common to set the time to meet at Kedai Aziz as ‘ we meet there in the morning...’ It means anytime between 7am to 11.30 am! Or maybe if you want to be specific ‘we meet after Asar’...anytime between 4 to 6.30pm! far cry from today Corporate meeting...meeting start at 4.05pm sharp.

...Damn, i missed the place...I don’t know about others but i definitely feel closer to Kedai Aziz, a sense of belonging/acceptance among adults. I am always happy here, playing chess from morning till afternoon, no cares about world...Kedai Aziz (and its regulars Ghalam, Arshad, Cikgu Mad) are one of the major reason why i chose chess over writing. Yup, I was once among the best Malaysia junior writer (poetry, short story etc) with ready invitation to write for compilation etc, dumped that careers and play chess where i am totally nobody... but maybe that is story for another day.

7. Talked about art and languages...we, the citizen of Kedai Aziz, talked our own chess language here. Chess Opening is 'lagu', bishop queen battery is 'buah dagu', Alekhine Defense is 'lagu kuda sesat' etc...yes, still used that classic 'sah' for check or 'mat' for mate!

8. Later in mid 90’s, under the name of development , kedai Aziz’s site has been earmarked for a building and he shifted his stall some 100 metres forward, behind the new Kuala Terengganu bus station. Chess/checkers hippies (read:me!) followed suit and rebuilt the ‘markas’ there but somehow it cannot restore its old glory. The magic has gone. For the record Aziz closed his iconic stall in late 90’s and now successfully went into sand transportation business.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Jack of all trades, master of all.
If there such a title as Malaysia Most Complete Chess Personality, Mok Tze Meng …sorry, I mean IM Mok Tze Meng, would surely win it hands down.
As a chess player, he holds theIM title, peak strength of ELo2416, once nominated as candidate for Perlis Sportsman of the year etc.
As a chess coach, NM Lim Zhuo Ren and NM Edward Lee are among his student . Enough said though he actually also involved in coaching for schools, clubs etc.
As a chess entrepreneur, via Intelligent Minds Academy , you can always count on him to quote a competitive price for chess equipment (books, clocks, etc).
As a chess tournament organiser, his 2011 Hillcrest Open is arguably among the best local tournament this year.
As for involvement in chess association, he is vice president of CAS and committee member of MCF
As a chess blogger…well, err, hmm…ok, I think if he puts more time and efforts on it, it will surely be one of the top chess blogger in Malaysia.

Mok Tze Meng actually are more than above. He is now into arbitership (second in his class), father to a chess player, captain to Malaysia chess team on various outtings etc. He is also perhaps the only Malaysian player who got opening name after him (Mokdern Defense).
In banking there is this term ‘financial supermarket’ to financial institutions that could offered variety of services to variety of customer, not wrong to say Mok is our chess supermarket.

Early days
I first heard about Mok via newspaper articles in late 80’s, most probably on Chessmate, about one Sarawakian player who shuttle/fly regularly to take part in chess tourney at KL…and this is time before ‘now anyone can fly’ era!

He later settled down at Kuala Lumpur.

He won his first National Closed in 1990, a feat which he repeated in 1992, same goes with Selangor Open, God knows how many times he won.

I first know him personally in early 90’s as the unofficial banker to encash the cash cheque. Still remember whenever I won a few hundred bucks in tournament and it is in the form of cash cheque, Mok is the ready banker to cash it, normally half via buying his chess books and other half cash.Of course at that time outside of the chess world he was a banker in trade finance department.

One good thing in buying books from Mok is you will get advice or summary about the books. Oh, not recommend this book for you or Hey, this book is for you! Etc. You have the feeling that he knows his stuff, he knows his customer.

Later when I settled down at Kuala Lumpur in late 90s, we sometimes met at Royal Selangor Club and Agus’ house and various chess tournaments.

Chess style.
His style of playing is simple, positional and with strong endgame technique. He is not into wild swashbuckling attacking ala Tal or Shirov but rather crystal clear strategic play ala Fischer or Capablanca.

Maybe, just maybe that his Achilles Heels is on his opening repertoire. His choice of opening is however rather limited (Ruy Lopez Exchange and Modern Defense) and in the era of internet, databases…he maybe needs to widen his openings. Anyway don’t be surprised, before his love affair with Modern Defense, Mok used to play double edge opening such as Dragon and even Alekhine!

Below is sample of his endgame mastery at best. He is one pawn down in rook ending against an active GM...and playing at GM's own 'stadium'...where local considered Utut as national can be intimidating.

W:GM Utut Adianto
B: Mok Tze Meng
1993 Jakarta Interzonal

1. ... Rc7
2 Kd2 Kf7
3 Rc1 Rc1
4 Kc1 a5
5 a4 ba4
6 Kb1 a3
7 b3

now the excitement begin

7 ... f5!!
sacrificing a pawn. Mok has seen deep into this endgame.
8.ef5 Rg8!!
now when he is a pawn down...and just created pass pawn to his opponent, he offered to exchange rook? Rook actually cannot be taken. Black's passed pawn (s) are faster.

Only move to draw. Other move lost for white!

9. ..... Rg2
10. Re5 Rb2
11. Ka1 Rb3
12. Ra5 Rd3


Chess Progress.
Mok’s progress as a player can best be described in steady 10 years leap. Roughly in early 80’s(or maybe late 70’s) he started playing the game, in 1990 National Master (NM), in 2000 FIDE Master (FM) and in 2009 International Master (IM)…based on that steady progress, who are we to say in future he will not obtained that elusive GM title once he set his target on it?

Next month he will be taking part in Yangoon GM chess tourney…2010 Chess Odyssey wished him all the best.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Hari Raya
Hari Raya…in between lemangs, nasi himpit, rendangs and other normal Aidil Fitri routines (and chaos too…after all Aidil Fitri is always about controlling domestic chaos affair…and queeing to take shower… and quarrelling on where is butang baju melayu…and taking pictures…and asking for forgiveness…), I picked up Seirawan’s Winning Chess Brilliancies (published in 1995) and went through Seirawan’s comments on 1991 Ivanchuk vs Yusupov FIDE semifinals candidate match. Game played in Brussels yet at Moscow, there was a political coup to oust Gorbachev. Both players are worried about the fate of their family back home.

The Game
Below is the full game.

Black won the game.

The position
The interesting part of the game reached after black’s played 24. … Qh4.

Which side is better?

White is a piece up and controlling the center while black ( a piece down) got the attack against white’s king.

Seirawan is the eyewitness to this game and he together with his friend (Larry Christiansen, William Watson and John Nunn no less) analysing the position and they just unable to determine which side is better though Seirawan believed that white should be winning.
Some line discussed
25. Nce7 Kh8
26. Nf5 Qh2
27. Kf1 Be5!!
28. Be5 Re5
29.de5 Rg8 threatening a queen sac 30... Qh1 31. Bh1 Nh2 32. Ke1 Rg1 checkmate!

The position haunted Seirawan and he visit and re-visit the position several times before finally he found a defense for white.
25. Nce7 Kh8
26. Nf5 Qh2
27. Kf1 Be5!!
28. de5 Rg8
29. Nde3 fe3
30. e6!

All in all Seirawan devoted 4 pages analysing above position.

Still I wondered, is his analysis accurate? Is white really winning in this game?

Now the position haunted me.

Two weeks after Hari Raya …still in between lemangs, nasi himpit, rendangs of open houses and somewhat less chaotic environment, I consulted my ELO 3000 professor…Mr Fritz agreed that from above position white is winning (eval of 6.3) and gave below convincing line

25. Nce7 Re7
26. Ne7 Kh8
27. Nf4 Qh2
28. Kf1 Rg8
29. Ne3 Bd4
30. Rd4 Ne3
31. Ke1 safe! What a convincing line.

Case closed! Haunt me no more! What Seirawan achieved in few days, i achieved it in few minutes.

The Contemplation
Makes me think how lucky I am today. I have with me, Mr Chess Engine, arguably stronger than even Super GM, that is always ready 24/7 to give me advices , access to millions of games , access to live games, access to thousands and thousands of players all over the world for a quick game between human or some discussion about Caissa, access to maybe million hours of chess videos and training materials, access to tablebase …bet Kasparov and Karpov of early 80's is willing to pay million dollar (or maybe million Ruble) to enjoy what i am enjoying now... what a waste if i did not fully utilized it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


1. No, i am not referring to Malaysian Airline System in crisis, though it is not wrong to say so (with MAS shares is now at only RM1.53, not so good financial results, many senior management resignation etc). I am referring to our IM Mas, who seems to be in crisis of sort, scoring only a point from 6 games.

2. If my memory served me right, the last time Mas was in crisis is at 2009 Bangkok Open when he just losing game after game to opponents not really of his strength, trying extremely hard to win even when the position did not warrant it...legend has it that GM Ian Rogers, his coach, then advice Mas via e-mail saying that result in chess, other than win or lost, there is a draw (or something to that effect). Mas got the message, regrouped and starts winning again.

3.Maybe we demand too much from Mas. We are not used to see Mas at his current state. Over the last 20 years, we are just being pampered with Mas' fine tournament result (beating Korchnoi, Ulibin, drawing Michael Adam etc) till we always unreasonably demand Mas to perform excellently, all the time and at all the place. We questioned his human error in letting his phone rang in the middle of the game, questioned his decision to take a draw against super GM, questioned his fighting spirit, questioned his decision this...questioned his decision that And this maybe, just maybe put unnecessary pressure on him.

4.Mas honestly did not need all this crap from us. What he needs is support from all of us. Continued support in his best of times and worst of times...

5. We forgot that how much sacrificed (money, time, other opportunity, etc...) Mas has done on his mission to put Malaysia on chess map. Without Mas, Malaysia can easily ranked number 100 in Chess Country Ranking, without Mas we may not even have such a strong junior line up (who find inspiration from him or strength by sparring with him). We forgot even Ivanchuk or Shirov also sometimes performed below their true strength. We take Mas for granted...

6.Then again who am i to give my comment on Mas. One blogger recently questioned whether a 2200 player qualified to comment a game of someone rated 2400. Now i am 1900 something player, let alone comment, that put me not even in the position to whisper about his performance. So i guess i better stop now.

7. To IM Mas. A poem...Don't Quit!

Friday, September 2, 2011



We, human, came to this world pre install with this ability. Though unfortunately it came without any instruction or manual on how to use it. Somehow, we just know when danger is around the corner …and instinctively position ourselves either to fight or flight.

We, chess player too, came to any chess games also pre install with this ability. We know when our opponent tried to crush us positionally… We know when we should shelter our king from danger… we know when we should rush our pawns and king in endgame. We hardly think…we just ‘know’ what to do. It is as if some mysterious forces guide us what to do.

But the big question is how accurate and reliable is our chess instinct? To what extent we can trust this basic instinct of ours (I am referring here to chess basic instinct, not Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct)? Which one is stronger, our mysterious, hard to explain instinct or brute force logic a.k.a calculation?

Honestly, I don’t know…

The Study
Anyway I do know that for below study compose by F. Sackmann 1912, to solve it you cannot rely on your normal instinct. Hope you enjoyed (and understand) this study as much as I do.

White, one pawn down in pawn ending (normally is a death sentence), is to play and win.

1. Kf5!! Kb6
2. Kf6 Kb7
3. Kf7 Kb8
4. Ke6 Ka7
5. Ke7 Ka6
6. Kd8! Kb7
7. Kd7 Kb6
8. Kc8 and white wins.

What I like about this study is the fact that to win both black’s c pawns, first thing that white needs to do is move AWAY from it. Immediate 1.Kd6 Kb6 draw or 1.Ke6 Ka6 also draw. To explain this beautiful concept to those who don’t know how to play chess…it is equivalent to inform that first step in getting a degree, first brilliant thing to do is NOT to enter university. Or to explain this to our hamsap (Casanova, Don Juan, Romeo whatever) non chess player friend, key to win a girl's heart is by avoiding her! Confusing!

Of course to any chess master , above concept is nothing strange. It is called Distant Opposition. A battle between two kings to conquer key square,that happen at least 3 files (or ranks) between them. Some distant opposition battle even happen 5 files away!

In Malaysian political kingdom, maybe there are one or two opposition, but in political kingdom of chess (and in the state of pawn ending alone) there exist at least 4 oppositions (normal opposition, distant opposition, diagonal opposition and virtual opposition). Who said chess is dull?

Opps!, guess i have already strayed away from 'CHESS INSTINCT' topic...instinctively i know i have to stop now.

Monday, August 22, 2011


In 1989 film Field of Dream, starring Kevin Coastner, there is this dialogue between John Kinsella and Ray Kinsella...

John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven.
[John starts to walk away]
Ray Kinsella: Is there a heaven?
John Kinsella: Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.
[Ray looks around, seeing his wife playing with their daughter on the porch]
Ray Kinsella: Maybe this is heaven...

DATMO 2011 Edition
Well, for me this year DATMO is simply a heaven. It got something for everyone.

For politician (and we are all politician in our own little way), possible to see Nelson M and Suharto discussing their strategy to defeat their opponent...under the watchful eye of Najib of course.

And since we are all definitely a chess player,at DATMO 2011 this is the only place, one place in this universe, where Nakamura could play a game of chess with Fischer to decide who is a better player among them...

Or how about seeing Darwin discussing about evolution theory of this mating game...

For businessman, there are many GMs here (though maybe they are not interested in your novel business idea...they are only interested in your chess novelty-should you have one because GM here is not General Manager...:) )

Don’t believe? Just go to 2011 DATMO! You could see above and maybe more...

Again, a quote taken from Field of Dreams.

The Voice: If you build it, he will come.

DATMO is our ‘field’ and if we continue to built it...they (interesting chess player, our brother and sister all) will come.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Malaysia for sure really don't lack it in junior talent's department...

Some of the success (...and where their rivals are now)

1992 World Junior under 14.







Tihonov Jurij




Benoit lepelletier




Tzoumbas Anastasios




Peter Leko




Ooi Chern Ee




Vescovi Giovanni




Dao Thien Hai




Avrukh Boris




Baklan Vladimir




Leitao Rafael



Asian Junior 1999







IM Krishnan Sasikiran





Laylo Darwin





IM Mas Hafizulhelmi





IM Tejas Bakre





IM Chong Liang





FM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami





IM Aziz Ahmad





Thai Binh Nguyen





FM Enamul Hossain





FM Irwin Irnandi




Legend has it that Mas and Sasikiran are both leading the tournament (with Mas having a better tie break) but Mas overpressed in his last game against Ghaem, position is draw, while Sasi won his and the rest is history.

But still, all is not bleak and dim since we now actually have a junior who is ahead of his peers

World under 8







Konstantin Savenkov



Qasimov Chingiz



Maxim Sinyanskiy



Yeoh Li Tian



Zajic Milan



Jonathan Chiang


Sorry guys, i am now in musical mood...:)


Where have all the good players gone
And where are all the talents?
Where's the street-wise chess players
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight shining in junior tourney?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream
of what I need


I need a GM
I'm holding out for a GM 'til the end of the time
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a GM
I'm holding out for a GM 'til the end of the time
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life...