1986Malaysia number one player who is at the top of his game...and among the best in Asian...and in his best years...needs to work part time as a trader in morning market and as a taxi driver to make ends met.
This i guess is never happen in other sports such as squash, badminton or F1 etc, to see their number one who is head and shoulder above the competitors but needs to take odd jobs...even if it really happen in other sport, i imagined immediately we can see sports Minister, sports official quickly intervene to disburse much needed 'bantuan' so the sportsman can focus in what he/she's doing best...but it did not happened to Malaysian chess...it did not happened to IM Jimmy Liew.
That year is 1986, which we all know as the best year of Jimmy's career but what we all don't know is in between tournaments and trainings, Jimmy also become a trader at morning market and taxi driver. Fortunately it is only a short stint since Jimmy's found directing his chess pieces to go to squares to suit his whim and fancy are closer to his heart rather than he, himself being directed to go to place to suit his passenger's whim and fancy...and he prefers crowds to gather at his chess table rather than at his trading/business table.
In 1988 Jimmy Liew made a move from Penang to KL and together with Peter Long they formed PRO-CHESS. PRO-CHESS maybe a chess company but to me it is more like a chess factory that keeps churning out good chess players, one after another. Enter average player here, put the player on PRO-CHESS conveyor belts and click!turn the switch on and the conveyor belt starts moving... (in which along the journey Jimmy and Peter will plan, mould, knock, shape, spray and knock again the player with instructive chess lessons) and out from this factory...voila! a better player...much much better player!
Among players 'manufactured' by PRO-CHESS are...Samantha Lee, NM Ng Ee Vern, IM Wong Zi Jing, Chen Tien Yue, Geraldine Johns Putra. Successful in chess, successful in their respective careers. Enough said.
Jimmy's reputation as coach is well known. Jimmy do not have to shout out loudly about his abilities or his methods or his student's achievement etc...but chess community knows and a blessing to Malaysian chess because until today Jimmy still do a coaching on part time basis and among his student now are Li Tian, Olivia Madhavan etc.
OK, now let's continue with PRO-CHESS...Unfortunately this partnership could only lasted for about 2 to 3 years. In year 1991 the partnership ended due to some differences between Jimmy and Peter and both went their separate ways...
AFTER PRO-CHESS (SEMI RETIREMENT)It must be around here, year 1991, Jimmy started to think hard whether chess can provide a comfortable life...will he be ok in 10 years, 20 years from now? Life, unfortunately, is not like a game of chess where there will always be another game. You make mistakes or blunder in chess, you can safely resign and start a new one where everything is reset to equal again but life is not like that... there is only one life...mistakes we made in life will stay with us for the rest of our life. No take back...no new game.
Down with a hard, cold conclusion that professional chess in 90s' could not guarantee to lead to a life he desired...he started working as a programmer with small IT company...he also doing data entry on freelance basis and at night, three times a week, he attended night classes to further equip himself. Vintage Jimmy...once he set his focus on something, he will do his utmost to gain as much knowledge and skills as he can.
In 1996 he was asked, by virtue of his position as number one player in country...only player with rating of above 2300, to represent Malaysia again in 1996 Yerevan Olympiad and he did not disappoint, contributing 5 points on top board.
FULL RETIREMENTIt is after Yerevan that Jimmy went into full retirement, concentrating on his corporate job at MNC Company...a company he joined shortly before Yerevan Olympiad but generous enough to allow him 2 to 3 weeks leave to represent Malaysia. It is a long retirement in which he only started playing again in 2003.
IM JIMMY LIEW : PART 3