Friday, March 8, 2013


"Win or lose, we go shopping after the election." - Imelda Marcos

Ah...election times! ... or to be more exact MCF AGM in which there will be a contest for President post.

Encik Zuhri, a businessman from Kedah, currently MCF Deputy President, is now offering himself for a President post.  

I have the opportunity to listens directly to many personalities and non personalities that involved and not involved in this election/ MCF at locations varied from top of 5 stars hotel to faraway, exotic chess tournament process hearing mostly bad stories about chess society. 

So what did i heard ? Well, lets stop at that and avoid libel, shall we?

So when I met Encik Zuhri for a cup of Kopi Kampung at one of the Nasi Padang Restaurant at Kampung Baru, together with Encik Ghalam Sani, i fully expect to hear again “this people bad, that people devil” kind of talk that i always heard or read at, i was wrong.

For most of the 3 hours conversation, Encik Zuhri talked mostly about his plans for MCF and for local chess development...his strategy to strengthen MCF financially...come up with SOPs...on searching for Malaysia’s first GM etc.

In between I take the opportunity and asked him whether should he be elected as President, will he go and investigate about various claims on corruptions? Immediately he answered “No, what past is past. I will start anew (...and moving forward)” can expect there will be no revenge or witch hunting.

On who he will appointed as a MCF Secretary?, he said he do not have any team (shadow cabinet) but he is ok to have the likes of Najib, Greg or Yap (not under particular order) as MCF Secretary. He clarified that rumours about him will appointed Raymond Siew as MCF Secretary should he won a President post is not true. 

On how he rates his chances? ‘Good!’ come back the confident reply and in which I agreed and may i added that Zuhri’s chances of winning will be higher should the ballot is cast secretly and not via show of hands....and i am of opinion that ballot should be cast secretly so the delegates can really vote according to their true choice...and not to ‘jaga hati’....hello? we are not electing class monitor here ok!

I cannot say i know him well though i started noticing him at chess tournament some few years back but i can say that by observing him from afar, read articles about him as well as via above conversation, i could detect that 'Howard Roark' qualities in him such as sticking to his principle, passion in doing things of his interest, man of few words and many actions, fantastic connections...just my ingredients for a good MCF President!

 In a style of British newspaper that openly support their favourite election candidates...Chess Odyssey would like to do the same by declaring full support for Encik Zuhri for MCF President post in this week MCF’s AGM.

Good luck and all the best Encik Zuhri!

"Win or lose, we go playing chess after the election." - Ilham


  1. Many rumors that someone in MCF is feeding Raymond Siew with internal correspondence between the MCF committee. It will be good if Zhuri can clarify what is his relationship with Raymond Siew, rather than just denying he will appoint Raymond Siew secretary (anyway i do not see that happening without a lot of resistance)

  2. Dear lham,
    Ninety-nine percent of chess players I know of are nice and intelligent people off the chess board. Looking for bad people is like looking for needle in a hay-stack. Of course, if you step on that needle, you do get pricked!
    Ah, yes.
    This message comes with unsolicited opinions...

    Sometime ago I did read in the blog somewhere written by a chess players; “if you leave enough ropes, people will get hanged”. Anyway, few weeks ago, I was asked why the supposedly “hanging” had not taken place? I offered no reply then but the sadness is still hanging in my mind on that the “hanging had already taken place!” Parents with children and is savvy with the ITC cum the employment scene had warned their love ones not to write anything in the web (theblogs/facebook/twitter) that will not disadvantage them in the search of that crucial scholarship or that dream job. You can talk to any serious HR people and they will tell you they do make searches and will drop off names that may impair their organisation. Your guess is as good as mine who this victim is! The real world does not give second chance. Why bother to give a job to a person whom had cheated than one that does not have a record of dubious character? I do hope the person that revealed this misdemeanour had done it unintentionally without the prior knowledge of the implications to this person’s future undertakings.

    Onto another subject. Do you know there is something called “Ambush Marketing?” In the simplest adaptation, if an unknown person (let say it is me) is to scream at the top of my voice that IM Jimmy cheated in the Olympiad, I do get an instant publicity among the chess community. And the marketer will tell you that any publicity is good publicity! You can actually manage it to become a good publicity if you continue to play the hearts of the public. Keep painting your side of the story as the hero against the Goliath, very soon enough gullible people will believe in you! For example, very much at heart-the issue of selection!

    Since child-centric parents had invested time and money, it is best to say that x-amount of time and money must give you X-amount of return. And the case of ceteris paribus means you don’t need to take the truth about talents, circumstantial resources, scarcity of opportunities, choices in timing for performance, etc, etc. (And you really need to buy plenty of Kopi Kampung to stay awake and hear the whole truth!)

  3. But chess people are suppose to have a great mind and are very logical! Why none had asked the simplest of questions? For example, why is there a Presidential Choice? Take the emotion out of it! No good and bad taste into the question! Why? There must be a deliberated reason that is so overwhelming that it becomes an acceptable practice! And on the eve of an AGM, are we throwing out the baby with the bath water?

    Selection is fair! The scream goes even higher pitch that selection is the only fair system available to find the right player! Ops! Are we talking a about poker game here? The truth of strength is always showing the card. But then, even at that, you need money to buy that one more card to force the revealing hands!

    Selection is fair! But then the very foundation of the selection is in Swiss System; a system that claims the Winner is certain while the rest are just “estimation”. Ahem. How fair can that be? And the system needs enough rounds to show a good hand too. Who is going to foot the bill for “enough rounds?” Even if there are the promised rounds, it becomes more unpalatable to many good players to spend more time on chess! How fair can that be when ninety-nine percent of tournaments held in Malaysia are in shortage of two more rounds?

    Selection is fair!

    Did anyone qualify themselves to quote the time control? What about incremental time?

    Did anyone mention where is the selection held? Favouring some “close-by” parties?!

    When is it held? Disadvantaging certain “timeliness” parties?!

    Selection is fair! But then how come after selection, better players appear to be shunted while the nation suffers.

    Dear Ilham,
    I had seen the Malaysian chess scene since 1976. That is a long time. The cycle of trumpeting for selection is once again in the fore front. Together too, it will come with all the unfairness of the selection processes. Chess is unique. Problems with selection are not. If only you remember the ProKennex Badminton World Cup series? Accumulate more points by play in more rounds and you can be selected ahead of the best of players. Butt of jokes was abound until it have to be scrapped. And yes! There is enough relevance here to see it happening in the selection of chess players when fairness is oblique and cheered on by parties that take no interest to understand the complete picture. A case of ceteris paribus or caveat emptor?


  4. Hi Ilham
    Nice piece of writing. Hope you did not get any "warning" from some quarters for your open support for Zuhri.
    Yes.... I believe we have the right to support anyone who we feel is right for the job - without being scared or threatened. Let us see what happens after the election and if anti-Zuhri group wins, will people like us suffer from our open declaration? Like you and me, we appreciate the initiative that Zuhri wants to bring into the chess community, and how he intends to make it more organized and structured. In short, to ensure that improvement will continue to flourish for the game that we love. After all, after almost 40 years of MCF, we still have nothing worthwhile to shout for, or be proud of..... But if he losses, we will have to wait and see if we will feel the wrath of vengeance and vindication from the winning team.

  5. Hi Ilham, Najib abd Siew Fai.

    MCF 2013-2015 main committee telah dipilih oleh AGM hari ini. Marilah kita sama-sama sarungkan kembali keris masing-masing , lupakan sengketa dan perbezaan pendapat serta saling bantu membantu untuk kemajuan catur Malaysia.

    Knowing Tan Sri Ramli and from my experience bertugas di parlimen dan lihat bagaimana dia sebagai speaker parlimen mengawal MPs.....anybody don't have to worried about vengeance, vindication whatsoever.

  6. Dear all,
    Many thanks for the comment(s).

  7. Democracy, democracy and democracy...full stop! But if any attempt to cheat on the name of democracy, chess player will call arbiter in chess tournament & lawyer will call judge in court.