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’…

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