Saturday, January 22, 2011


Money is not good
In order to make a decent living from chess, you need to be extremely good, not only GM, not only Super GM but basically you need to be top 20 in the world.

Local tournament wise, to be the best in Malaysia is definitely not good enough. On average, first prize RM400. Let’s compare with say...memancing! (Golf will be overkill) First prize RM20,000! And in GP Joran they even have this Hadiah Utama, a cool RM84,000 in cash for overall winner. Ofcourse,in memancing tournament they start on time.

Torturous Tournament Format
In other sports, tennis dart etc if you are not good, you will lose in the first round and you can go home, you can still bragging to lose to champion and you will never know whether you are the most unskilled player around.

In chess, they have this torturing device called SWISS System and even if you lost, the tournament director will force to keep on playing and playing and playing with your fellow chess clowns. Worst part is, you cannot hide, this SWISS System will show to the whole world (thank you, Internet) with absolute certainty whether you are the most...what word to use are the most ‘need to improve’ player.

Not a popular sport
Ask any hot actress, who she wanted to go out with, a top chess player or a top footballer? Enough said.

Wait a minute, on a brighter side, ask any hot actress who she wanted her daughter’s IQ to be inherite from, a chess player or a boxer? In this area we might have a chance!

Accused to be a spy/smuggler
This happen to me some 20 years ago. I played correspondent chess with Andrew Ooi, Masros Tukiran and few others. I was at boarding school in which all letters will be open by Puan Rosniyah (she is a big fan of Ludlum’s novels). She accussed me of devising a secret plan to smuggle cigarettes inside the school when she opened one of those letters that mentioned

3. Bb5 if 3. ...a6 then my move is 4. Ba4
If 3. ...Bc5 then my move is 4.c3

But still, whatever reasons are, we all love this beautiful game!


  1. Ilham,
    Accused to be a spy/smuggler? Haha :)
    I've heard of a real incident during the WW2 where a chessplayer was arrested and accused of similar thing (correspondence chess); he resorted to demonstrate to the Govt Officer that it was indeed a chess game. And he was freed after that!

  2. Hi abdooss,
    Yes, heard that too and in fact after the WW2, during the cold war, Russian and eastern europe postal chess player always need to convince their postmaster that they are indeed playing chess.

  3. I believe if we can clean up this sport, more sponsors will come and who knows maybe even more than memancing. Belum cuba belum tahu. Then more mothers will want chess kids as son-in-law/daughter in law. Right now I am even having problems stopping my own supporters from running away. Not many can stomach this type of poison.

  4. Hi Raymond,
    Clean up the game is one thing but i think all chess needs to attract sponsorship is to have a first chess 'superstar'. Money will come afterwards just like Fischer (Chess) and Nicol david (Squash). We need to produce that first superstar that even non chess player know and ofcourse after that many mother will open to the idea of having in law that play chess!

    Take it as a challenge Raymond. If u are right, consistent and patient at the end of the day victory is all yours. Please watch the black and white '12 angry men' for inspiration.


  5. Ah the chicken and the egg story or is it? Clean up chess and maybe the superstar may come or have dirty chess and the players have the star all knocked out of them before they have a chance. Do send story of 12 angry men. Want to learn more. :)


  6. Hi Raymond,
    Very true Raymond, back to the old chicken and egg paradox but still in my humble opinion, sponsors will still pour the money into sports which are just full of scandals (Football and F1 e.g.)but lots of superstars (hence, visibility and lots of eye balls). Did not see this in clean sport but without superstar (say lawn bowl or our nearest cousin, scrabble).

    12 angry men is the classic film about a murder case in which most of the jurors believe defendant is guilty except for jurors no8 who believe other wise. Slowly, with simple reasoning, he manage to convince the rest of the jurors that defendant is not guilty. Along the way juror no8 discovered that other jurors got their own agenda/history to say defendant is guilty.


  7. En.Ilham ada tak simpan game move correspondence kita

  8. Salam Masros (samdol !? :) ),
    Mungkin ada lagi kat kampung...InsyaAllah bila balik kampung nanti saya cuba cari

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