Saturday, April 28, 2012


George Mallory 
Currently I am reading a book George Mallory. Born in 1886, he is a school teacher by profession and a mountain climber by hobby. In simple words, an amateur mountain climber. Over time between studying and teaching, he conquered small mountains…Ben Nevis (4,409 ft), Great St Bernard (8,101 ft), Mount Velan (12,353 ft), Mont Blanc (15,774 ft) etc.

But he is not satisfied. He is aiming to be the first to conquer Mount Everest (29,029 ft). He tried it many times but failed until one expedition in 1924…in which he did not come back…disappeared in the final leg to reach the top of Everest… or so the historian thought.

29 years later, in 1953, we all know that Edmund Hillary, army, professional mountaineer officially became the first person to reach Mount Everest.

 In 1999, Mallory’s body was found near the top of Mount Everest…very near at the top...the oxygen tank… his personal belongings (things that he intent to deposit at the peak is no longer with him...) indicate that he has reach the top and looks like that he died when he is on his way down…

Debate is still going on whether he is the first man to reach Everest…

Malaysian Chess ‘Everest’ aka GM title. 
In Malaysia we have many players who are aiming to conquer the chess ‘Everest’,a.k.a. GM title. Some already at their final assault…uncompromising weather in front, alone and lonely at the top under minus degree temperature…so near yet so far, some are halfway of the ascent wondering whether to quit or to continue, already feel the tough road ahead, while most are still at the bottom of the mountain, about to begin the climb, fully motivated, fully energized…

Malaysian chess ‘Everest climbers’….few professionals, many amateurs…each climber with their own methods, with their own paths, with their own support team, with their own silent prayer…but each climber shared one common target. A GM title. 

At the end of the journey, unlike Datukship, Lordship etc, GM will be just a title that bear no significant bearing outside chess world, (if a GM wants to open a bank account, the pretty teller will not call him say, GM Ilham…no. It will be a plain Encik Ilham or maybe only Ilham).

Grandmaster is just a two capital letters in front of one names and I bet many non-player will wonder whether it is worth a ride, worth a lifelong devotion over white and black pieces and 64 squares .

To chess player of course it will be more than just a title, it is about believing in one’s dream, pushing oneself to the limit, learning about one own strength and weaknesses, a process to learnt more about chess, and even more about oneself…it is definitely worth a ride (and worth the occasional falls along the way)

Believing in one’s limit…some opt by windy bungee jumping, some by walking on fiery charcoal…why not by achieving a GM title?

Hmm, all this romantic adventure and all this fun….makes me think…instead of watch others do it and watch others have their own fun …maybe I should begin my own very small first step, at my own ‘snail’ pace, to conquer ‘Everest’…

Next Posting

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We, Malaysian are naturally proud to have anything that is long. The longer the better and with that mantra of no surprise Malaysian are the proud holder of the world longest coin line (55.63kms), world longest abbreviation, SKOMKHPKJCDPWB (Syarikat Kerjasama Orang- Orang Melayu Kerajaan Hilir Perak Kerana Jimat Cermat Dan Pinjam-Meminjam Wang Berhad), world longest fire dragon (118m) etc

Of course we man, also naturally proud to have anything that is long too…but that is quite off topic I guess…:)

OK, enough rambling…since practically we have zero chances to put our name on World/Malaysian Book of Record on our own…the short cut way is not to create but be part of the records and we can do just that by entering 39th Selangor Open…the longest running chess tournament in Malaysia!

Selangor Open 
If Selangor Open is a person, at age 39, he is expected to reach certain stability in life. Car, career, family, house and so on but unfortunately for our friend here, his future is uncertain…CAS is struggling to make it happen and by sheer sacrifice and prayers and supports, they have make it happen. Congratulation to all behind this year successful Selangor Open. You guys really deserved a standing ovation, Clap! Clap! Clap!

Selangor Open and me 
I have entered Selangor Open many times, way back when it was played below Dataran Merdeka, also took part when it was played at Royal Selangor’s HO few years back and when it was played at DATCC. My best performance is when I first entered Selangor Open and finished 3rd. In my last Selangor Open I think I finished at 33… This year not sure yet whether I want to take part or not…

Interested to be part of record?
For more info, here.

Friday, April 20, 2012


When we say ‘change the board, its dirty, go get new board’ we meant change the dirty chess board with a new chessboard or when we say ‘to beef our team, we need to get a good GM’, we meant getting a good Grand Master to strengthen our chess team

However, few of us will think those innocent words differently, for them it could also mean changing Board of Directors or in second example above, getting a good General Manager to strengthen a company.

These special people are what I call them as Chess player cum Corporate Captain ...chess players who have also found success in another tricky, strategy game with lots of tricks and traps...sounds like chess, looks like chess but not chess...It is a corporate game!

Not in particular order, they are:

Chen Tien Yue

Young player from 80's and early 90’s, he is now a full time GM (General Managerlah...) of Royal Selangor, a pewter company that has a present at many countries.

Dato Tan Chin Nam
Man behind MidValley, Sucasa, Micasa and (luckily for us) also a man behind most of our major 'caissa' activities. Dubbed as one of the major corporate player in Malaysia, he has now retired from active corporate world, has passing the baton to his son/daughter.

Dato Edmund Santhara
Chess player from 90’s generation, a founder/CEO of listed Masterskill Education Group Berhad. What i like about him is in most of the interview, he will always promote chess.

WIM Audrey Wong
Malaysia first Women International Master is also Chief Risk Officer (CRO) at Cagamas Berhad. CRO is a very powerful position, Wall Street once called CROs as Wall Street’s New Emperor.

While above are all corporate ‘player’, below we have corporate ‘arbiter’, monitoring corporate activities like arbiter monitoring chess tournament

Azman Hisham Che Doi
My former lecturer at UUM, Azman Hisham is also a Chief Operating Officer at Securities Commission.

Chessplayers-cum-Corporate Captain above...wonder whether they have done this...shows a serious face to their secretary and said “Cancel all my meetings, i do not want to be disturbed for next two hours! I got important matters to handle, strictly no incoming calls”, closed the door and inside their posh office, unmasked their serious face, smile and went on-line and played chess via internet! :)

I don’t know but once a chess player, always a chess player...

Note: I believe there are more chess players/corporate chief out there but above are most visible to me and which news about them can be publicly found at news portal as well as at Annual Report.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Setelah diam dan sepinya gendang pertarungan catur di Brunei setengah bulan yang lalu, kini bumi Melaka bakal bergegar dengan gegak gempita kompang, nafiri, nobat menyambut kedatangan pendekar catur ke kejohanan catur yang boleh dianggap antara yang paling mewah di Malaysia.

Hubungan Melaka dengan catur bermula ratusan tahun dahulu. Tun Seri Lanang didalam karya tersohornya, Sejarah Melayu, mengatakan ada seorang Pasai, Tun Bahara yang sangat pandai bermain catur di Melaka dan mengalahkan semua orang Melaka dengan mudah. Sini.

Aduh! Adakah ini pembayang maksud bahawa orang Pasai (Indonesia) bakal sekali lagi menjinakkan orang Melaka (Malaysia)...itu untuk sama-sama kita saksikan.

Awal Cerita
Menurut Najib orang yang bertanggungjawap menzahirkankan kejohanan ini ialah Khairi Jansar (KJ) dan ala Hollywood, mereka (Khairi, Najib dan Greg) terpaksa memecah masuk majlis VVIP, bersua dan bertegur sapa dengan Datuk Seri Najib, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, Tan Seri Ramli dan seterusnya...sini. Sebetulnya tiada apa yang nak dihairankan, kombinasi nama KJ dan Najib pastinya membuka mana -mana pintu! :)

Gempar seketika bila timbulnya isu tentang ‘nasihat*’supaya tiadanya kejohanan catur tempatan yang bertembung dengan kejohanan ini...

Entahlah, saya tiada sebarang komen mengenai nasihat tentang tiadanya kejohanan catur bertembung dengan kejohanan ini...tunggu! mungkin ada sedikit komen, rasanya apabila dua sahabat berbeza pendapat, 2 sahabat yang telah lama saling mengenali demi minat mereka terhadap permainan ini , etika yang betul sebagai seorang dewasa ialah tidak perlulah membatu apikan perkara itu...

‘Nasihat*’- Entah mengapa ketika jari jemari ini mengeja perkataan nasihat, teringat kata-kata dari filem P Ramlee –Masam-masam manis. ‘Aku bukannya marah...aku nasihat!’ :)

Tumpuan sudah pastinya tertumpu kepada si cili padi Li Tian. Adakah akan meneruskan kehebatannya bercatur di aras stratosfera 2400? Atau mungkin aras lebih tinggi lagi-‘Milky Way’ 2600, siapa tahu?

Apakah episod buruk prestasi Mas Hafizulhelmi telah berakhir di Brunei dan kita bakal menyaksikan Mas yang baru...mungkin lebih tepat kalau saya menggunakan istilah Mas yang lama, Mas yang kita kenal, yang gagah menumbangkan lawan seperti Hang Tuah menewaskan penderhaka sultan tanpa belas kasihan...

Di Brunei Adik-adik lebih menyinar dari abang-abang. Kini abang-abang tampil lebih gagah dengan tambahan Abang Jimmy dan Abang Mok. Marilah kita saksikan babak kedua sisi pertarungan tidak rasmi ini diantara adik dan abang, siapa yang lebih menyerlah.

Harapan saya semoga:
Arbiter dapat melakukan ‘Peter Long’, menyiarkan perlawanan yang ‘bersejarah’ dalam masa beberapa jam selepas perlawanan berakhir

Keputusan perlawanan dapat disiarkan dalam masa sebenar (ketika keputusan dilaporkan) di, juga ala Peter Long di Brunei, dan bukannya secara sekaligus sebagaimana lazim. Dengan cara ini peminat catur dapat mengetahui secara benar masa, aksi mana yang benar hangat dan aksi mana yang ‘hangat hangat tahi ayam’.

Ada pemain Malaysia yang mendapat norma.

Mas kembali mengganas.

Akhir kata
Selamat bertarung dan meminjam kata-kata keramat dari filem ‘The Hunger Games’...Semuga kelebihan kekal berpihak di tangan anda!.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


What is a backdoor?
In IT it refer to hidden way in accessing the system. In finance, backdoor listing normally refers to getting listed by using a company that is about to be delisted. In chess, I don’t really know what it mean (only recently this word is being used) but I guess it means something like letting experience, qualified and strong players to represent Malaysia to strengthen the team without going through unnecessary selection process... and what is wrong with that? The way the words are being portrayed, backdoor has become trapdoor…ready to punish any strong, able and qualified players from representing Malaysia via recommendation.

Honestly I don’t see it as playing via evil backdoor, I see it as playing via recognisant or merit. Achievement has its own reward.

But Ilham, it will not be fair to other player…

The hard truth about this world, nothing in this world is fair… We just need to accept that someone is entitled for certain ‘privilege’ due to its strength or (sometimes) weakness…
• Certain parking is reserved for OKU but it is nice for non OKU to make noise and say it is not fair?
• Should we ask Datuk Lee Chong Wei to go through selection to represent Malaysia in All England? In the name of fairness…
• There is reserved place for Anand to play for India in chess Olympiad. Is it proper for other player to ask Anand to go for selection? After all it will be fair to every Indian chess player, mah...

My point is life never fair. If life gives you lemons, made lemonade!

But ofcourse in early days, Datuk LCW, GM Anand (and many of our current senior chess player) fights to be where they are today…and one fine day when a new crop of players emerge that is better than them, they will know it is time for them to give way…a circle of life as a sportsman.

My advice to those who are ambitious to represent Malaysia…consistently got excellent result…at the end of the day, with strings of excellent results nobody can deny your rightful place to represent country. The force of continuous excellence result is always stronger than ‘selection’.

Remind me of an incident in 1970, Pal Benko gave up his spot at Palma De Mallorca Interzonal so that Fischer could play. Benko knows that Fischer is more qualified to represent America. Unspoken, there is this honour among chess player, we know who deserved what based on strength…hard to explain to non-chess player.

So to player who was, are and will playing for Malaysia under merit ticket. Congratulation and all the best!

Friday, April 13, 2012


This game is the first chess game that left such an impact to me. How 2 knights ‘dancing and prancing- Chernev’ and at the same time dethrone king and queen is simply amazing. Final position in which, I quote Chernev again “…King and Queen have fled, and the white knights occupy their thrones” is picturesque!

Just look at this diagram. Those lovely knights occupying black's throne that force immediate resignation!

I first encountered this game on my first chess book titled ‘Main Catur’. It was written by Esa bin Abdul Rahman and published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1978. My late mother bought this book for me in 1985 from one of those book shop at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and I literally read this book from cover to cover, self-taught myself the notation…in Malay! Like if the move is 1.f4 the notation is 1.B-GR4 (Bidak Gajah Raja 4)

The Game
Budapest, 1942

From the final position it is mate in four.

The Impact
This game made such a strong impact on me and for a self taught kid I have come to a conclusion that:
1. Knight is stronger than bishop and rook. Maybe slightly weaker than queen.
2. Sicilian is not a good opening. Black is slow in developing its pieces.
3. Khylober (who played white) must be a super strong player. Is he a world champ in 1942?
Now, 27 years younger…I think I know better…

The History
Ok, I first encounter this game via my above mentioned ‘Main Catur’ book in 1985.

13 years later, when I first started working at KL, I bought a second hand Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess from at then the happening Yaohan The Mall for RM25. Perusing the book from my rented room I discovered
1. The previous owner of this book is Dr Foo Lum Choon, Singapore.
2. And above game (Game number 150) under grouping ‘Knight Gallopings’

Few years back I again encountered this game at but the player of the game is not Khylober vs Nagy 1942 but Walter Arpad Foldeak vs Nagy, Budapest 1942...but honestly who cares, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

So yesterday i revisit this game again and discovered under the game's comment it is actually same person. Until 1948 his name is knight Khloyber Walter, after it Földeák Árpád...

Ah, even better! A wonderful knight's galloping game by knight Khloyber!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


When Mas meet Li Tian tomorrow, are we going to witness a history (passing the baton moment) when Malaysia’s great player lost to his young opponent who eventually become even greater player?

Should it happen tomorrow, i bet it is going to be violent, cruel even. The young one is eager to prove that he is worthy successor while the number one is to show that why he is number one. No one is going to give a favour, an inch, to their rival.

All i can say is good luck to both gladiators! May better player won.

Let’s look some of the passing the baton moment in world chess. For passing the baton moment in local

Sammy Reshevsky for a long time, a very long time is the number one player in the US. Suddenly in 1958 there is this boy, aged 15 who played a good chess. This boy’s name is Fischer so when they met in 1958, Reshevsky who found himself lost after 12 moves, refused to resign and continue playing in losing position...Fischer later become Fischer that we know...GM, World Champion, Legend.

In 1977 Tony Miles, Britain’s first GM lost to Nigel Short (14 years old teenager), Short later in 1994 became a challenger to World’s crown.

In 1994 Kasparov lost to Kramnik in a violent King Indian defence’s game. Kramnik eventually replaced Kasparov as World Champion.

Actually tomorrow’s result is insignificant in what will be a long rivalry between them. After the game Mas will still be de-facto Malaysia number one (even though now he is number two) But I have a feeling that YLT will eventually, before he started shaving, become an undisputed Malaysia’s number one...and in 2018 Li Tian will become Malaysia’s first GM, as vaguely predicted by yours truly. Here

Anyway just for the heck of it, i think Li Tian will win tomorrow...Mas take a gamble in a drawn position and its backfired.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Day One

Brunei Open...Malaysian contingent leads by IM MasHafizulhelmi put up a strong performance on day one and Fong Yit Ho even beat a GM (GM Richard Bitoon) with black pieces! A truly amazing performance!

Big question is whether Malaysian Contingent can continue their strong performance tomorrow...

Today you win completely
You play your move so sweetly
Today the light of hope is in your games
But will you still winning tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment's pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your moves?
Will you still winning tomorrow?...

All the best Team Malaysia.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Saturday duty as a human guardian of two angels that few years back descending from heaven is sending them for their earthly music lesson at Wangsa Walk Mall...(Ah, how i hope they trade their music notation with chess notation..)

At its main lobby, Wangsa Walk Mall's is currently organizing a knockout chess tournament for kids ( Jax Tham, they must be borrowing your idea...) when suddenly there is announcement from a deejay (yeap, shopping mall's deejay, not an arbiter) "Stop! Stop playing! let's count the pieces to determine the winner!"

Hmm, chess game decided by counting chess old, primitive, orthodox ways to determine winner that somehow survive and still exist in 21st century...

It sure bring back memories...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Tonight while surfing the internet i stumble on an old News Straits Times article about 1985 Malay Open wrote by Peter Long


I like this article. It is factual, frank and author did not hesitate to pen down what he actually thoughts or knows or especially on what he feels. Well, in simple words... a no holds barred...a vintage Peter!

Some of the interesting points are:
Peter began by mentioning PCMM as “...a strange but not uncommon example of an association which was formed simply to organise one tournament”...ouch! :)

Malaysian Airlines System donated plane tickets as prizes and organisational costs were largely taken care of by Konsortium Serbaguna Sdn Bhd and Wearne Brothers Sdn Bhd.

On Ghalam’s play “Ghalam Sani Datuk Abdul Rashid is young and ambitious, but is afraid of taking risks”

Peter touched on then recently married Mohd Noor Yahya's poor (chess) performance"...biggest disappointment...has been indifferent form...etc"

Peter actually comment on most player worthy of comments, as a reader we could feel Peter know his colleague well.

Dinner and prize giving ceremony is held at Putra World Trade Centre where Datuk Khalil Yaacob, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was at hand to give away the prizes.

Peter concluded the article by presenting few games played at the tournament.

How i wish today chess tournaments are to be cover like this... in almost full page of major newspaper, honestly/frankly written by author without any hidden agendas, with historical facts and is well researched...too bad if chess tourney is not written this way because, a'la Yuna's tagline... there is story in every tournament!

Monday, April 2, 2012


One, out of four articles published at on 1st April 2012 is a hoax, an April fool joke, a chessbase tradition...but the big question here is which one?

1.European Championship: Jakovenko is champion with last round victory
This is real since it is also reported at other chess site.

2.Capablanca's Chess + Billiards match
Never heard of this but that beautiful evidence..50-50 chances it's hoax. Lets evaluate others.

3.The 'Let's Check' Crystal Ball
I know Fritz has this ability and i don't think Chessbase is going to trick or make fun of something that they to sue...ok, this is real.

4.Chess Match of the Century table up for sale
I think i have heard about this table few years back...i think this one is April Fool's article...:)

Chessbase, my final answer is..Chess Match of the Century table up for sale is this year April Fool's joke!

Ok, now lets wait for the result...:)

Sunday, April 1, 2012


As someone who moonlight as a chess player, and someone who considered DATCC as his third house and who is interested to see DATCC as a chess hub for the nation, I have below suggestions/question, which I personally like to believe, for the betterment of DATCC.

Few years after DATCC acquired space previously taken by William Restaurant, William Restaurant‘s sign board is still being proudly displayed outside DATCC. If I am not a chess player, with tables, chairs and Restaurant signage and a weird language being spoken by its patronage (en passant, zugzwang, bulchoz break …) I will believe DATCC is a restaurant serving some exotic European cuisine.

Maybe it is time for DATCC to bring down William’s signboard, replace it with big, bright DATCC signage. I believed every day at least 100 cars passes through DATCC’s front, definitely this will be a great advertisement for DATCC.

Even better if DATCC signboard could be display outside Kompleks Wilayah alongside all those Dangduts and Karaoke signage. Everyday thousands of people passed through Jalan Dang Wangi, got stuck inside their car with nothing to do but cursing the traffic jem. It is to DATCC's advantage if there is awareness among those stranded afternoon travellers (and morning too) that there exist a chess center inside Kompleks Wilayah.

In a world we live in which every company is fighting for eye balls exposure, not wrong if DATCC do the same.

No doubt it is costly but i think in the long run will bring benefit to DATCC and Malaysian chess.


Chairs at DATCC is a folded type but in my opinion is not very durable. If your weight is above ‘healthy and wealthy’ level i.e 88.88 kgs, be very careful. I have seen many players that crashed down to floor due to this chair unable to support their weight. Yes, there is maybe one or two non folded chair around but I think it is not enough. Before someone suing DATCC for injury sustained at DATCC, maybe DATCC could prevent it…in chess terms, doing prophylaxis to avoid checkmate.

For beginning maybe get 10 plastic chair non folded type that parents can double it up for use of their 7 years old son/daughter to make it more easily to make a move deep inside opponent’s territory.

It is a win win situation if DATCC could sell some chess goods such as chess pieces, boards, score books etc or even premier items such as chess software, chess clocks, chess books etc.

Of course DATCC could also sell non chess items such as pens, tissues, soft drinks ( I think already did) for the convenience of players…and extra income for DATCC.

During Insofar tournament, Jax Tham mentioned to me about a knock out chess tournament that he planned to do every Tuesday night and from that kertas kerja I noticed there is DATCC membership being mention…honestly I am neutral about this membership thingy but I am curious about few things.

· Is membership open to all or is it via invitation?

· What is the privilege in being DATCC member?

· Is member entitled to vote, access to account etc?

Some clarification from DATCC is most welcome!