Sunday, May 6, 2012


Yes, I swear its true. I was once a prodigy, highly talented so the experts said...but not in chess but in literature (You laugh, i know).

Year 1988
I know there is something not right with me. As a form two student, I love to read ‘heavy materials’ literature books such as the works of Usman Awang, A Samad Said, Keris Mas etcetera. Hard to explain but I could feel, deep inside me, the beauty of those works which my friends found it super boring. The plot, the metafora, the rhymes, the clever words play…it just ‘glow’ my heart and gave me untold pleasure. I dream of one i am able to write as well as them, my idols.

One fine day I wrote a short poetry, my first poetry that I type on my dad’s old, clunky typewriter, and send it to Dewan Siswa and to my delight it was published! For that I got RM25 cheque from Dewan Bahasa Pustaka (DBP) and many letters from my ‘fan’ asking me to be their Abang angkat and Adik angkat, some even put their photo inside the letters…:)

And it just getting better…my very first poetry was later selected as National top 12 junior poetries and I have been identified  as a talent by DBP, was selected to attend  workshops with National Laurettes and at the end of the year, among those 12 finalist, my poetry finished 3rd and I am RM800 richer…not bad for 14 years old first timer, without any literature  theory knowledge whatsoever,  to finish 3rd in DBP Dewan Siswa’s National Junior (Under 18) Writing Competition (Poetry Section)

Then I started sending my works to various adult magazines (not THAT adult magazine, ok) such as Jelita, Wanita etc..earning RM50 for every poetry published, start sending short stories to DBP etc …and getting honorarium every time DBP reprint the books.

But it is not for money it is more to unleash what I think and shared it with the appreciative party. In simple words it is simply for love of writing.

Then of course, also in 1988, I entered Terengganu’s Pesta Pantai Chess Tournament and represent Terengganu in MSSM at Negeri Sembilan (and lost horribly to 7 years old MasHafizul) but somehow  I have found a new love...

Seduce by the charming Ghalam, the friendly and ever helpful Arshad, the hospitality of Pak Mail, competitive Norazmi, Fairul 'emjee' Yusof and addictively fun environment at Kedai Aziz and other personalities that just too many to mention…slowly I left relatively peaceful writing world and entered the warring world known as chess, divorcing Chairil Anwar for Capablanca...and in process swapping Kemala with Kasparov…

Looking back
 I sometimes revisit the literature world (old human habit I guess, love to secretly peek at our former lover’s world and wonder what if...) but sadly the magic has gone…no longer feels strong emotional attachment to the art works, no longer see the colour from the beautiful phrase…yes, I see the beauty  but not the glowing colour that could warm my heart like the good old days.

Good part (to the literature world…sad part to me) is to see writers could earn a decent living (a VERY decent living by writing), like a writer of Ombak Rindu, earning more than RM200,000 for this book alone…

Gosh! That is what Super GM earned winning a strong GM tournament!


  1. Ilham..... No wonder the name, because you have the same!!! Not to say that you should have stick with "writing" but, perhaps you should have tried to join the two world's together.... write poetry and short stories about chess. One play that comes to mind.... "One Night in Bangkok!" I have not watched the play but damn!!! I LOVE THE MUSIC and the plot....

    Maybe you can write "An Evening at Wilayah" or something of that sort

    Just my 5 sen worth (since we don't use 1 sen anymore.... )

  2. ahaaaa... i still remember article from chesscafe about the strongest amatur player the great Chepukaitis... Ex Blitz Russian Champion beat Strong GM such As Petrosian...

    He use his poetry to explain his game in his first Blitz Book... The Only Thing is... Its In Russian Language...

    so just like Bro Najib said... I Wonder???

  3. Hi Najib,
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice. Honestly i tried to sort of make a comeback in writing (whenever i read someone earning few hundred thousand writing books) but just cannot...hopefully in near future i am able to come up with a good novel...then Hollywood producer make a film out of my novel...kaching!! :)

    then with money i earned i am able to hired WGM Kruttika to teach me chess :)

    Hi Captain,
    In Russian Language?..then google translate itlah...apa susah.

    Happy with new mistress Ms Cosplay, hopefully you still did not forget your old flame...chess! :)

  4. hahaha... thanks for the support... u know us... can marry 4 wives... 'selagi mana mampu'... just need to divide the time correctly... but ma time blogging is out so far... ma new four wives FB, Family, Cosplay, Chess... to much time blogging (setakat nie baru talak 1)...

    for chess i still a lil bit opening, a lil bit middle game, a lil bit bout simple 1-2 move tactic, a lil bit tips from book and GM and More about Ending (ma new love)

    bout that book... unluckily... the format is in picture PDF (cant copy paste)... and to write each character letter is unknown... i was looking for his 2nd book before he died few years ago... till then good luck with your WGM Kruttika plan... kikikiki

  5. Ilham,

    Arts/literature loss is chess gain ! :)