Thursday, April 18, 2013



Happened during Asian Amateur last two years, I was playing white against one Bruneian player. The opening is a sharp Giucco Piano (which I know with correct play from both side, it will be just a draw) and in which in that complex position, my opponent started to think longer and deeper.I was hoping that he did not know the theory and will make a blunder in a complex, messy Giucco Piano position.

...still he played all the correct moves and after I have sacrificing few pieces, game ended in a draw by perpetual check.

“Damn it. He just got lucky and managed to find all the correct moves. Damn!" I silently cursed myself after the game.

After the tournament ended I re-visit the game, consulted engines and chessbase etc...I found one game that exactly followed my game against this Bruneian player and to my surprised, player in that chessbase game is my opponent at Asian Amateur!

Actually few years before that he played white against another opponent and his long thinking is not so much to encounter my move..but more of thinking what is i am up to?...what is improvement that i have prepared? None, actually.

Gee...terrible me! How could I have doubted whether my opponent know about Giucco Piano’s theory when he IS THE THEORY!  

Sit in front of me at one of the weekend rapid chess tournament is a boy, must be below 12, all smile and very polite looking...I mean he stand up when shaking my hand as I approached the board and also correctly spelled my name, complete with my father’s name, on his chess notation book (Most players his age will asked me to write down my name on their chess book...).

So after the game, he (still) smiled at me and said “You write that Odyssey blog, right?” I said yes. And then with that ‘awe struck’ look on his face, he smiled and said “I always read your blog” “Oh, Thank you!” I replied.

Nice to know I have a young fan :)...but most important...that haunted smiley face always reminded me...Ilham, be careful with what you write since children are also reading your blog.


My opponent, an Indian citizen, is having a habit of shaking his head, unconsciously, whenever he is not feeling comfortable with his position. So as the game progress (and my attack is getting stronger), his shaking of his head is also getting stronger.

Suddenly i feel like playing against my Fritz...i mean whenever playing against the engine, i always after making a move, will look at the evaluation point to see whether my move is good or not. And against this opponent, after making a move i will look at the movement of his head to know whether my move is any good or not.

Game ended when he smiled, extended his hand and of course, gave me that head shaking.

After the game, i cannot help thinking that good he chose chess...i cannot imagine how disadvantage he will be should he chose...say, poker?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


When I arrived at DATCC this morning to take part in Magnificent Weekend not many players can be seen. General thought this is due to some that when to Thailand and some who are soundly slept after taking part few hours earlier in Fadli Tanjung Karang’s chess tournament held from 10pm till 3am! (Yeap, no typo here. 10pm till 3am!...Vintage Fadli).

Man i was wrong...there suddenly appeared “Tanjung Karang’s players” Kamaluddin, Kamal Ariffin, Razali etc. My respect for these guys...they basically have played tournament chess from 10pm a night before and almost not sleep yet....and here they are for another round of chess tournament

Well, those sleepy eyes... good sign there for me! :)

Tournament Proper
Top 4 seeded
1. Hermanu
2. Kamaluddin
3. Kamal Ariffin
4. Ilham

Top 3 Finishers
1. Ilham
2. Kamal Ariffin
3. Hermanu

Sorry guys, since Najib yet to post the full result at can only recall above from memory and not usual top 5 Seeded and Top 5 Finishers.

1. Only 20 players took part and basically Najib run this tournament at loss. “ Don’t worry” Najib assured players “No matter how many players turn up. I will still run the tournament”

“Janji ditepati” Najib concluded...this election season, of no surprise Najib will be saying this phrase...Albeit different Najib!

2. “...but i cannot run tournament at loss forever” lamented Najib. “There will be limit...” Understand and wish your next tournament a much bigger crowd...and i won’t mentioned sauna or hypothermia...i promised (while raising my right hand) :)

3. Cameo appearance, Jax Tham, Fadli (he is conducting his chess class here) and Mohd Arshad. Arshad can be seen following the afternoon Thailand Open game between Wong Jianwen and GM Mageranto from his laptop.

4. During games, one of player car alarm went off...he went out to his car, fixed it and continued the game. I bet none chess players must surely puzzled...i mean you lose if you handphone emitted soft beep beep sound...but did not lose if your car emitted that 200 decibels sounds!   

5. To celebrate my win (...and RM300 richer!), I and Arshad went to watch The Host at Capsquare’s TGV. Bad mistake...boring like hell...I gave the film 2 stars out of 10.

Monday, April 8, 2013


This event took place more than a week ago but only now i do the posting, blame it on that cursed 4 letter words (L.A.Z.Y.)

Before the start of Insofar March Edition, Hairulov, myself and Pak Herman are busy talking about Malaysian chess.

“I don’t understand Malaysian chess players...” so said Pak Herman Latif in his thick Indonesian accent on bright Sunday morning 31st March 2013 at DATCC “All they studied are opening, opening and opening” he continued with a disgust look on his face.

“They should focus more on endgame. Myself for example, studied more than 1000 endgames” added Pak Herman enthusiastically.

I and Hairulov just nodded politely. Couldn’t agree more.  Silently i cancelled my thought of asking Hairulov’s on Carlsen’s latest opening move...well, not in front of Pak Herman’s obviously.

Tournament Proper
Top 5 seeded
Md Monir
Irwan Syah

Top 5 finisher
Syazwan Zin

1. Not many strong players taking part in which maybe because of that controversial 4 letter words (G.I.F.T.)

2. Hairulov can be seen conducting a simultaneous games against his son and daughter before the start of round 1.

3. Najib, the arbiter, had a busy times when almost in every rounds in category two, kids, in their shrieking voice, can be heard asking for arbiter's help, mostly on touch and move issues...arbiter! arbiter! Much reminds me of Tattoo's The plane!...The plane! :)

4. Not sure whether it is because of Pak Herman’s lecture on endgame, me and Hairulov quietly bought endgame book (100 endgames you must know) from Najib during the tournament.

5. Blitz appearance by Dato Tan who dropped by for a game of chess with one Percak member.

6. Hamid Majid also dropped by in which we discussed about books. With Hamid i can discuss about books the way i discuss openings (or endgames in Pak Herman’s case) with my fellow chess players...I mentioned currently i am reading Catcher In The Rye (He immediately comment that i should naturally progress to Catch 22 after Catcher...ok, noted) and after The Fountainhead, he now recommends me to read ‘Sidharta’...can’t wait!

7. such a lonely word...everyone is so sang Billy Joel. One player, Amirul Haji Mohd, contrary to the song... is so true and declined Veteran player prize by admitting his age did not qualify him to be categorized as Veteran player. Class act! ...Honesty is hardly ever heard,
And mostly what I need from you!

8. I won RM150 and theoretically won RM3000 in scholarship money. How i loved and blessed those 4 letter words (C.A.S.H) !