Wednesday, December 31, 2014


No, I am not referring to a current flooded situation in Malaysia. I am referring to current chess tournaments that 'flooded' Terengganu's landscape. In a month's time Terengganu has quietly organized 3 chess tournaments! and this is just the beginning!

Terengganu plan to organize up to 20 'mini' Blitz circuits this year.

 This is how it was started...

Aha Moment
Last month, out of blue, Norazmi Mohd Noor had his eureka moment and suggested 'Why don't we organized many small blitz tournaments, sponsored by a player in which all entrance fees will go to this player?

It was just brilliant! Tournament is created, players can take part in blitz chess tournament and sponsor can hope to profit via cash collected from entrance fee and by winning cash prizes.

Lean and mean, no excess fees to pay organizer, arbiters etc. All are done by the players.

Norazmi naturally let the ball rolling by sponsoring first tournament (with first prize of RM120, cash prizes up to number 10) and now this tournaments has snowballed into the fourth edition blitz (will be held at UITM, Dungun this Sunday)

Those interested to take part (and wish to play hot, hellish fast chess in heavenly tropical beach surrounding Dungun, you may contact Mr Abdul Rahim at 013-9390419 for more info.

To Register
No, you don't have to pay entrance fee in advance, fax the deposit slip, later still need to fill up the form etc which we all know is really troublesome...All you have to do is just go to UITM Dungun on 4th January 2015 before 9.30 am, smile, exchange pleasantries and shake hands...done! you are registered already! (ofcourse, after that and before the start of round one you still need to pay the entrance fee of RM10, cannot escape ya!)

Previous Winners
For record below are the winners of the previous 3 editions.

First Edition
1.Fairul Yusof
2. Mubin Norazmi
3. Heng Aik Kiat

Second Edition
1. Fairul Yusof
2. Norazmi Mohd Noor
3. Heng Aik Kiat

Third Edition
1.Syazwan Zulkifli
2.Mohd Arshad
3. Norazmi Mphd Noor

So that is how the Blitz Tournaments are created in Terengganu.

In an immortal words of Abraham Lincoln...Tournament of the players, by the players and for the players.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


With this posting, looks like i have posted about Terengganu chess for 3 times in a row. A hat-trick. But i cannot help it, not with these so much interesting and positive developments that currently happened in Terengganu chess.

I called this phenomena as Second Revival of Terengganu Chess.

First Revival
To me, the First Revival of Terengganu Chess happened in mid 80s to mid 90s when chess is being recognized as sport by Terengganu State Goverment. Terengganu Sports Council generously sponsored many tournaments as well as sponsored players that represent state in tournaments such as National Closed, Merdeka Team Event, Selangor Open etc. 'Sponsored' here is not referring to give a paltry sum of RM50 to players. Sponsored here means that our (state players) hotel, travelling fee, entrance fee are taken care of. We are also given generous pocket money and jackets/ wind breaker, at one time it was a coat!  We are the envy of other players who needs to fork out their own, hard earned money to enter tournament at Kuala Lumpur :)

Pak Sachlin Mail, our head honcho then, even let half of his house as sanctuary to us, chess refugee/ addict.

Of no surprise we are able to produce national players such as Ghalam and Norazmi and dozens other players that able to keep breathing fire at their neck!

After that, and for next 20 years, Terengganu chess is sort of in doldrums...

Yes, there are activities, players etc but somehow ( to me) the passion is just not there...

Now it is about to change... The passion is back!

Second Revival
Part of it is no doubt due to Ruzenan's effort in gathering most of Terengganu players from 3 generations (Sargon Generation, Mephisto/Novag Generation and Fritz/Chessbase Generation) under Whatsaps Group called 'GanuMaster'...with aptly 'GM' as abbreviation!

From this group, many old warriors are manage to be seduced...and lured to play chess again.  Most notably is the comeback of many players that have retired from the game for a long, long time. The players from 'Novag/ Mephisto' era such as Lim Sim Leong, Adnan Salleh, Azli, Lutfi Amir, Cikgu Hafez and Heng Aik Kiat etc. From these list, many i know are opening their dusty and yellowish chess books again and some even started to enter tournaments after tournaments like man possessed!

Unity in chess
Talked about Heng Aik Kiat or better known as Franco Heng, two weeks ago he is the undisputed winner of tournament he entered, an Inter Mosque Chess Tournament. Only in Terengganu, non-muslim entered chess tournament organized by a mosque (and win!). Chess here after all manage to do what politicians in this world tried to do (but failed), unite all regardless of race and religion.

Talked about passion or love of chess, last night we, GanuMaster's citizen, are shocked to know about one of Terengganu player (Khairul Hafiz), met with an accident that resulted in his car spinning turtle many times over. Condition of his car is total wrecked (but thank God, he is ok) and an hour or two after this nerve wrecking accident, and due to perhaps without his car, he can be seen busy arranging  for his transport to his next chess tournament at Tronoh.

An hour after accident (that could easily be fatal), Hafiz is thinking and worried about his next chess tournament! :)

This morning, he went to the accident site to recover his chess set and clock! 

What a passion!

Place to play chess are also mushrooming. Every now and then there are news on new chess center being open...
Tournaments are now also many. From planned tournaments to 'spontaneous' tournaments, from offline to online...its everywhere.

Ganumaster 2014
Talked about tournament, Ruzenan is now busy preparing to hold a lucrative year end tournament called  Ganumaster 2014 with thousands in total prize fund.

Want to enter this tournament? Sorry! This tournament is by invitation only and limited to top 32 players...Top 32 Terengganu players that is! :)

 ...and i just yesterday manage to get my leave approve to enter this tournament.

All in all, it is now definitely a good time for chess in Terengganu...


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


'Emjee' is a moniker or nick name to Terengganu chess player, Fairul Yusof.

Though probably not the strongest (sorry, Emjee...) among Terengganu chess players, Fairul Yusof is definitely the most popular among us with his ready positive opinions/ probabilities even when odds are heavily against him... his lyrical, poetry and detailed description or analysis of situation... his flamboyant style when he is winning or find brilliant moves in friendly games...

All above and more makes we (Terengganu  chess players) all loved him!

'Emjee' as a friend (in need)
I first met him some 25 years ago at now the legendary Kedai Aziz. He is then working at RHB Bank. Though relatively latecomer to the game, he quickly grasp the idea of the game and in no time become one of the Terengganu's top player. This is of no surprise since he is blessed with brilliant mind and naturally he is very excellent academically (especially in advance mathematics) and was shortlisted to further his study in US before some nasty twist in kaleidoscope shattered it to pieces.

But Emjee is a fighter...

Above is not the only life test he faced. I have witnessed many occasions in which world seems totally against him but slowly and surely he rises again like phoenix rise from ashes.

For record he is now a (very) successful Terengganu's 'keropok keping' producer. Good chances if you are eating Terengganu's genuine 'keropok keping', it is probably produce by his company!

One thing i could not forget is how before i started working, some 17 years ago, i realized i probably do not have enough cash to live at KL before i got my first salary. I asked him whether he could help me, quickly he lend me RM300 and a month later, i gladly, upon received my first salary, first things i do on lunch time is went to nearest RHB bank and deposited back RM300 to his RHB's account.

Thanks Emjee!

'Emjee' as a chess player   
But let's talk about him as chess player.

As a player, he is aggressive player with plans always involved some hacking, more hacking and never shy to murder his pieces if that could bring him closer to opponent's king. If there is a combination in a position, somehow he could sense and detect it like any phone could sense and detect a WI-FI signal...

His opening is well...a bit suspect since he always played same openings year in, year out. But then again this could be the thing of a past since what i heard he just installed Chessbase on his smart phone and religiously devoted about 4 hours a day improving his opening. (Whoops! i better be careful now!)

Though he is aggressive as player, outside the game (and maybe to stranger) he is a shy person. Once, few hours after drawing his game against IM Jimmy Liew no less, i saw that IM Jimmy and IM Mok is analyzing this game's ending. I quickly waived at Fairul and asked him to join in the analysis but he refused. Perhaps in this area i wished him to be more extrovert...

The origin of 'Emjee's name
Some times ago, when Ghalam still playing active chess, most of Terengganu players dream of becoming a GM (who don't? ) and foolishly started to put 'GM' in front of our name. For variety some put G-OM and Fairul chose 'MG', under reasons best known by him. After some times all these GM-pretend-names disappeared but 'MG', now spelling evolve to 'Emjee', stays!  

Chess Odyssey take this opportunity to wish Emjee a successful quest to become Terengganu's first titled player... and speedy recovery from high fever!             

Monday, September 8, 2014


I am now fully believed that time travel device has been created and it is called Whatsapp...

A month ago i joined my primary school Whatsapp Group and off...i went back to 1984 when i am still schooling in Kajang.

Thanks to Arshad and Ruzenan (Administrator), I joined a Terengganu chess players Whatsapp group called 1Catur Trg last week and I swear, immediately, I am off to a place 300 miles away and i could feel that i am at that Kedai Aziz again.

Here, at 1catur Trg, sweet bantering are common...exchanging of jokes are norm...the friendly teasing...the live telecast of chess of players. Man, I love this group!
Here we talked chess and only chess, and we do this in our unique and private Terengganu Chess languages that have been evolved and developed over the last 30 years. Example are 'kena pepoh' (severely beaten) or 'sippang kuda' (keep the knight) or 'nok mussing' (want to castle) and so on.

What I like here is, unlike my other half dozen Whatssap Group, here we talked pure advice to be a better request for silly jokes/ mentioning about expensive gift received from hubby, picture of dining at that exclusive Just a bit of chess, a sprinkle of caissa, a dose of catur and lots and lots of friendship.

Here, we are known via our moniker. We have here Mexico, Papa Midnite (me!), German, Franco, Pracih, England and ofcourse, the group favourite player, emjee!...and few more. Just too many to mentioned.

Now while i am writing this post at one of cybercafe at Setiawangsa, I glanced at my phone and see all that incoming messages from 1Catur Trg...i swear, though my body is at Kuala Lumpur, i could somehow hear that  China Selatan's wave come crushing the white sandy beach of Terengganu...and I suddenly inhale that salty air again (instead of carbon monoxide air of KL)

Whoever that created Whatssap. Thank you very much!

You are really one hell of Dr Emmet Brown! (That absent minded doc we all love from Back to the Future films)  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


From end of 20th century
Over the last 40 years, chess world is being blessed (or cursed, depends) with K vs K battles. In 70s we have Korchnoi vs Karpov, in 80s Karpov vs Kasparov, in 90s its Kasparov vs Kramnik, the beginning of 21st century
Move over to 21st century the K vs K battle spilled out of the chess board...we have Kirsan vs Karpov and now it is Kirsan vs Kasparov. Now the stake is higher, instead of to determine who is the champion of 64 squares, now it is to determine who is the champion of 196 countries.

In all of these battles (with exception of Kasparov vs Kramnik), challengers always lost on their first encounters, challengers are also always facing an uphill, unfair task of fighting the champion. Who could forget what Korchnoi faced when playing against Karpov in 1978 (his family is still in Soviet Union then), or what Kasparov faced when playing against Karpov in 1984 (FIDE stop the match when Karpov starts losing game after game).

Now i believed Kasparov is also facing an uphill task to beat Kirsan. This syndrome of unfair treatment to chess challenger is well rooted in chess tradition. No surprise here, aren't we are not the only sports that set up the weird conditions to suppress challenger ? (Equal points-champion keep the title...challenger needs to win extra game to be a champion...challenger needs to win hundred of battles before 'qualified' to challenge champion...and the list goes on)

Hmm, strange to think that chess as an intellectual games comes up with all these non intellectual, nonsense rules... and chess as a game that supported fairness (both black and white pieces carry the same height, weight and speed, each player can moved equal number of moves etc), suddenly in the biggest chess battle, unfairness can be seems everywhere.

So true is what Orwell said in Animal Farm. "All animals are equals but some animals are more equal than others"

Kirsan got the advantage no doubt about it. If these are an hypothecal chess match, i put Kasparov's rating at 2850 and Kirsan at 2820 BUT...Kirsan is a defending champion and Kasparov needs to win that extra game (assume this is old rule) to clinch victory, and Kirsan is well supported by the best seconds and best super computers, and it is played at Kirsan's country.   

But still i am supporting Kasparov...but with my unenviable track record of always support person who later lost tragically ( i supported Zuhri for MCF President...and also supported Hamid Majid for FIDE General Secretary, i supported Spain in World Cup ...and psst, i also supported Dyana Sofya...), not sure whether Kasparov's Team appreciate my support... 


Monday, February 3, 2014


 Ok, lets continue...

11.     To have a chess opening named after me.
Almost impossible to achieve. I mean even Kasparov do not have Kasparov opening and of all the World Champions, only one WC has opening named after him (Alekhine) and some do not even have a variation named after them.

But here lies my advantage against World Champions. World Champions mostly played mainstream openings (Read: heavily analyzed opening where there is a name even for sub, sub, sub, sub variation!) while for me, i always played an underground/ alternative/ coffea shop opening! (Read: less analyzed opening where sometimes even there is no name for a variation!). He he he :)

But then again the advantage of World Champions against me is obvious. He needs to play only once or two of these less played opening and good chances his name stuck...while for me, even if i played the opening for life (and my next life too), no guarantee it will stuck!  Huh! :(

Maybe to be more realistic...i should aimed for a sub-variation of chess opening, named after me.Example Blackmar Diemer Gambit- Gunderam Defence - Ilham Attack...Hmm that will be just long as not a blunder named after me. (Ilham’s folly or something like that...that i don’t want)

12.     To write an article for Chessbase.
Chessbase to chess world, is what Wall Street's Journal to business world...high quality articles, globally read etc. Really hope that one day i could publish my article at 

13.    To watch a game of World Chess Championship match live.
For one in my lifetime, i need to watch World Championship feel the tension at the playing hall...hear the commentary/post mortem of the game live and hopefully be part of a memorable game (like Karpov-Kasparov 16th game, 1985 -The Octopus Knight game or like Kasparov-Anand 10th game, 1995 - The Amazing Open Spanish Novelty game etc) 

What i don’t intent to be is to be part of a game like Anand-Carlsen 1st game, 2013...draw in 16 moves! Yuck!

14.    To post 1000 articles for this blog.
This posting is posting number 252. Say i post about one article per week...i shall achieve this 1000 postings in next 30 years time...Nope! I will not be 70 that time, just like today, i will still be 20 years old (with 50 years experience) -wink! ;-)

When it come to blogging...I am very much a seasonal animal...sometimes in active, mating mood, 3 articles in a week...sometimes in lazy, hibernating mood. 0 article in 3 months...To overcome this and for more consistency...maybe i should stick with current arrangement...I informed what i want to write i am sort of under ‘obligation’ to produce and post that article.

15.    To play blitz at Central Park, New York.
There are so much legends surrounding blitz game at Central Park, New York....How young Fischer amazed everyone by beating adult here...The shooting of Waitzkin’s ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’ a regular here, a homeless hustler is actually some East Europe a very impressed Brazilian IM withdraw from a tournament at NY after being beaten by a street hustler in GM Roman give odd 5 minutes to one, and still wins...and the list goes on.

I want to be part of these too so i could one day say “Blitz at Central Park? Been there...done that!”

16.   To play a game of chess with GM Hikaru Nakamura.
The most exciting player around, i hope one day i could play chess with him...shall gladly anticipate weird move such as Qh5 after 1.e4 e5...or his full chagrin expression when (hopefully) i play something unexpected...:)

17.    To play a game of chess with Garry Kasparov.
Unlucky for me Kasparov is now retire from competitive chess...lucky for me Kasparov still play chess (exhibition game, simultaneous game, social game etc).

Kasparov, like Fischer, is said to have a strong ‘aura’. An unexplained ‘energy’ that terrified opponents before even he make his first move. Kramnik, during his 2001 World Chess Champion match even refused to look at Kasparov during the game. Wise move.

I know i will be whacked mercilessly by him, no doubt about it...all i want out of this game is just to feel Kasparov’s invincible aura or what Jedi said, his ‘force’...and at the same time to enjoy a game of chess with one of the world Greatest Player.

18.    To interview Nafisa Muminova for this blog.
Bigfoot don’t exist...Lochness Dino don’t exist...UFO, maybe exist, maybe not but angel? Angel do exist...i know...I have seen one.

19.   To own a DGT Board
In my room, i write on my white board a Buffet’s quote...”If you buy things you don’t need, soon you will have to sell things you need”.

Problem with me to achieve this...I am a firm believer on why spend more? If the cheap one can works just fine...

But a DGT Board?...a ‘Vertu’, a ‘Roll Royce’ of chessboard. ...I need to have this luxury, as a way to pamper an offering to Caissa, even though i already have like 4 chess sets (5 if include that cheap, glass set) that ‘works just fine’...DGT Board is different, an exception to my principle on why spend more.

But again i am a strange person. I am ‘calculative’ when it comes to spending money on myself...generous (or so i would like to think) when spending money on my loved ones.

Example is on my laptop. Since the old one is ‘kong’ already...i fully dream to get a high end laptop...perhaps a RM3000 ACER?... or maybe that sleek, RM3,500 ASUS?. So last month i went to Lowyat’s and after perusing laptops for half a day there, i finally bought this laptop...the one i am using now...RM1000 Toshiba Satellite. (almost bought RM900 Samsung laptop)...and it works just as fine!

However, not to worry Arshad, though you very well know my principle in fine day i will buy one DGT Board from fine day!

20.    To represent Malaysia in Chess Olympiad
Chess is a sport (we have all sort of ‘coach’ in chess, we sweat when we are losing, we need to practice and spend crazy amount of times to be good in it and so on) and as such i consider myself as a sportsman.

...Every sportsman dream of taking part in Olympic and me too, dream of taking part in Chess Olympiad as a player.

I know this is hard to do but if Hamid Majid (no offence, ya :)) and one unknown Anwar Zainal could do it...why can't me?

Yeah, indeed. Why can't me...


Friday, January 31, 2014


John ‘Indiana Jones’ Goddard...
Via Discovery Channel Magazine (Issue 1307), i was introduced to John ‘Indiana Jones’ Goddard, adventurer and explorer who died at the fruitful age of 88 on May 2013.

What interesting about John Goddard is when he was 15 (!), he listed 127 things that he wants to do (Bucket List) before he died and some 73 years later, he manage to achieve 112 of it!

Among his Bucket List that he manage to achieve are #40: Learn to fly a plane, #47: Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great, #101: Run 1.6 KMs in 5 minutes, #117: Milk a poisonous snake and so on.

That article makes me think...what actually i really want to do in chess...what actually i want to achieve in chess...What is my chess ‘Bucket List’?

After few months consideration... few months thinking of it...few days flirting with it....and few nights sleeping with it... i finally come up with my 20 Chess Bucket wishes.

1.        To beat a GM
I have never beaten any GM...not even during simultaneous game. Well, i have beaten few IMs but GM...never. To beat a GM in a single game i know i have to win 4 times, one in in in endgame and the last one, the most crucial one, is to win against my own self/ desire to offer GM a draw when i am winning.

2.        To enter a chess tournament in Moscow.
Chess player’s life is not complete if he/she never compete in a chess tournament in Moscow, the unofficial state capital of the Chess Republic. Simple.

3.        To visit London Chess Center, London.
Hairulov has done this few years I fully intent to do this before i am 50. I can imagine that i will be like a kid in candy store ( or like a lady in LV store...) when i visit London Chess Centre....heaven!!

4.        To visit Marshall Chess Club, New York.
Marshall Chess Club...a place where Fischer played his Game of the Century...and almost every who’s who of the chess world has at least once, visited this historic club. Though i am not the known ‘who’s who’ but rather an unknown ‘who?’ in chess world, i really want to at least once visit this club.

5.        To open my very own chess center.
I dream of one day to open up my very own chess center that open 7 days a week for chess players and chess lovers to come and play anytime they like...there will be a library...hall to organized a tournament...a study room etc. It will be like Papa Midnite’s Night! will be more like Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca. Everyone is welcome at 1940s Rick’s Cafe ...from German’s Nazi to US Spies to ugly, opportunist swindlers to pretty, young lady in distress (especially!) etc...a sanctuary from the brutal, warring outside world. How nice if this could be a reality one day!

6.        To write a chess book.
I don’t know what will be the title of the book or on what topic it will covered but i know there is at least one chess book inside me waiting to be unleash! If one fine day this will become reality, it will not be crammed with opening theory or endgames analysis etc (who wants to read Ilham’s analysis of Albin Counter Gambits?...further more, i also want to ‘cari makan’ in tournament and why should i share my secret with you? :) )....that is just not me. It will be something light and easy or perhaps a reminiscent of good old days of chess in Malaysia/Terengganu...something like that!

7.        To play through all Fischer’s games.
This is (in theory) realistically achievable.From 1955 until 1992, Fischer played about 800 chess games...Say i play about a game a day, it will take me about 2 and a half years to achieve this. Actually some 20 years ago, when i was still a University student, i have tried to achieve this from a photocopy book of Fischer’s games collection and manage to go until Fischer’s early 1960’s games before i just stop. I tried this again few years ago (started again from his 1955 games and this time from Karsten Muller’s book on Fischer) but this time only manage to go until year 1957...Pathetic. Warm, warm chicken’s shit (Hangat-hangat tahi ayam...) 

8.        To organized a FIDE Rated tournament ‘Bak Memorial’
Bak is one of the regular chess player at KedaiAziz,...short in height, he is tall with humors...his National chess rating maybe zero (Strength wise, he played at earthly low 1600 level...stratosphere high of 2400 if allowed to take back moves), he is rated out of this world 2800 when it comes to cracking jokes and smiles...we all love him....we all really, really love him. He died due to asthma in late 90’s, We, the Kedai Aziz’s citizen deeply missed him and if i ever be a multi millionaire, i shall organized one tournament in his memory...least i can do to remember a great friend he is and ofcourse, during tournament there will be a free flow of ‘Kopi O’ to players (Bak’s favourite drink!) and players are allowed to smoke (but only Gudang Garam Surya’s cigarette. Bak passionately called Gudang Garam Surya as his lover...his ‘Suraya’. Sorry, mainstream cigarettes are not allowed to be smoke during games, no 'Peter', no 'John', no 'Kent'...only ‘Suraya’)

9.        To be a National Champion
Most politician entered politic to hopefully one day to become a Prime Minister. Most private sector staff worked in a company to hopefully one day to become a CEO and i, as a chess player, naturally play chess to hopefully one day to become a National Champion...and with it carry a limited two alpha characters ‘NM’, for life, in front of my name and unlimited bragging rights, also for life, that i am the best Malaysian player in year so and so. Closest i get to this nirvana is placing top 5 in 1991 National Closed at Kota Bharu. (maybe i finished in top 3, i could not remember...all i remember in 1991 National Closed is champion went to Kamal Ariffin...and before the start of this tournament, we tried to call Ghalam who initially said he is interested in entering this tournament, he didn't turn up...from a bulky car phone that belongs to father of one of the that time i was like...wah car phone!, so rich, so canggih!)

10.    To have the autograph of World Champions.
Good Great to have autograph of World Chess Champions...knowing that World Chess Champions have once spent few seconds of their historic life (and few joule of their energy), to write something to me! 


Friday, January 17, 2014


The rise and rise of young guns...
Yeoh Li Tian
Li Tian’s chess rating can be describe like a marathon runner....steadily moving at cruising speed of 30 or 40 ELOs a year (he seems to be not in hurry) and now he has breaching 2300 for first time in year 2013...What to watch in 2014 is will he ready for 2350 assault and starts collecting norms in the process.

Aron Teh
Aron Teh’s chess rating can be describe like a sprinter...zooom!! (boy o boy, he seems to be man in a hurry) Where is he, ah?...cannot see already. So fast...He gained about 300 points in single year and what to watch in 2014 is whether he still got that inhuman energy to repeat this performance and breach 2300...or maybe 2400 who knows?

Fong Yit San
Yit San’s chess rating can be describe like a middle distance runner....for a few years running at a steady cruising speed but last year saw he is increasing his speed (gaining more than 100 points in single year, suddenly... he seems to be man in a hurry). What to watch in 2014 is whether he will continue progressing at this rate and breach 2250...

The rise and rise of Cerdik Catur Enterprise...
Cerdik Catur Enterprise, lead by Mr Fadli, is no doubt the most active chess organiser around. His tournaments is everywhere...from city center to forest reserve...and easily attracts 200 or 300 contestants per tournament.

What to watch in 2014 is whether he will be progressing outside KL/ Selangor...and also on his political ambition...

His other initiative, CCR Rating, is also fast gaining popularity and now being use by even non Cerdik Catur organizer.

National Rating vs CCR reminds me of MS Office vs OpenOffice...for a long time local rating is being monopolized by MCF’s National MS Office, it is not free and of Premium Quality. Suddenly last year, Fadli produce CCR...its free (i think so) and works just as fine and now fast challenging National Rating as rating of choice for local events.

What to watch in 2014 is whether CCR will continue progressing and being adopted into more local tournaments..

The fall and fall of chess centers...
Heard that DATCC has closed its operation on 1st January 2014 and Khairun Nisha is seriously toying with the idea of closing her chess center is a sad period to chess centers operators.

To me, chess centers to chess community is like ports to trading must exist in order to prosper!...and i hope magical economic law of supply and demand will work and produce new centers...(demand in chess centers will result in the creation of chess centers (supply))

What to watch in 2014 is whether there will rise a new and better chess center after this sad chapter...a new center that rise like a phoenix rise from ashes...

MCF’s official website...
Shortly after MCF’s AGM, a demo or prototype of MCF website is being shown...from what i read and heard about this website, i am impressed but after that silent....

What to watch in 2014 is whether this much awaited MCF’s website will finally be on line and running...

First GM...
There is saying that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. First GM, arguably the most vocal blogger in 2013, championing (among others) for correct chess training while at the same time criticizing other chess players/ coaches methods. 

As such naturally (and unfortunately too) the spotlight will be on First GM’s student, Mark Siew who so far performed within close band of 2000 elo (plus minus 10 points)...not bad but not impressive either...

What to watch in 2014 is the effectiveness of FGM’s training method via Mark Siew’s performance...and whether he can breach 2050 to be in Malaysia’s Top 25.

Players for Tromso Olympiad...
In about 200 days from now, 2014 Chess Olympiad will be held at Tromso. Tromso Organizer is now busy recruiting volunteer for this event and naturally MCF should also by now be busy in determining the criteria to represent Malaysia.

What to watch in 2014 is how the players will be chosen and who will be it MAS (Mana Ada System) style? or is it MCF (My Chess Friends) style?... I don’t know and i hope not...what i hope is MCF’s Committee for National Player Selection (headed by Mr Ghalam Sani) will come up with guidelines on the criteria to represent Malaysia in Olympiad 2014. Amin.   

(Well, actually I have a list of players for My Dream Team but that is story for another day....)

The fate of Malaysian Open...
Just like previous year...and years before it...there is always rumours that there will be no Malaysian Open but somehow...abracadabra!...Malaysia Open is magically being held promoting players such as Irene Karisma and Nafisa Muminova to come and play here. I thank God for it!

This year again i heard a scary rumors that maybe there will be no Malaysia Open, and with closure of DATCC ,this rumors might be frighteningly true...

What to watch in 2014 is whether there will be 2014 Malaysian Open this year ( i hope yes, it must be held in 2014 Visit Malaysia years and that rumor will be just unfounded come we deny pretty, young players from especially Indonesia or Uzbekistan not to come and play here especially during Visit Malaysia Year? )

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


THE QUIET PART and my wife when went our separate ways in end 2012. As such in 2013... every afternoon, going back to my empty home with no Astro, no TV, half broken laptop (heck, i do not have even a proper radio!) and no kids laughter to greet me...not an easy period, i have to admit... but i guess rather than thinking about it....i guess i better use this quiet period by studying chess.

...during this time i managed to finish about ten chess books from cover to cover ( Capablanca’s Chess Fundamentals, Euwe’s Judgement and Planning in Chess, Chernev’s Most Instructive Chess Games, Franco’s Chess Self Improvement etc)

...i also managed to half finished a dozen of chess books ( My System, Study Chess with Tal etc)...fully intent to finish these books this year. Amin!

...most of it is a classic books...with the idea of building up my basic chess foundations (at young age of 39!)

...its really a quiet period of my life...suddenly i found that i study chess not only to remember the theory but also to forget all the memory...the painful memory. 

...just when i planned to have a faithful relationship and undivided devotion to Chernev’s, Nunn’s, Nimzovitch’s etc, suddenly i found myself being seduce by Ayn Rand’s, Twan Eng’s and my usual mid night partners (Grisham’s, Crichton’s, Archer’s, Puzo’s etc)

...and also all of sudden i found my interest zip zap everywhere...from Theology to Teohlogy...from Mexican’s marathon runners to Blackjack strategy...from Quantitative Trader to Quantum Physic....its just everywhere (pss...i also read Richard Dawkins' book!..just curious to know about the arguments from ‘the other side’)

...and yes, i bought 42 inches TV two months ago at RM1500 ( Finally!...after  surviving a year without TV and after bargaining for half an hour from original price of RM1800)...feel damn good about it (Ha ha...big TV at RM1500...) but later discovered same TV set is priced at RM1200 at Jusco...Grrrr

With this TV suddenly i found my interest change my aim is to watch all the movies under Top 100 Movies of All Time (so far manage to achieve 20 % success...ET, Godfather, Casablanca, Gone with the winds, Star Wars, 2001:Space Odyssey etc)...still have like 80 films to go...sigh!

...Well, all these (and the friendly calls, SMSes, comments on this blog, know who i am referring to here and for that TQVM) help me went through this lonely chapter...

...and all above (Books, Films) i guess is good to make me a more ‘rounded’ person but it comes at the cost of my chess

Chess wise...I consider 2013 as a successful year for me...i manage to increase my ELO Rating from 1994 to 2023 (highest at 2034...before Malaysian Open...before Nafisa Muminova), a gain of 29 points in one calendar year.

Well, progressing at a cruising speed of 29 points a year, i should be an IM in 10 years time and a GM in 20 years time...just in time for that GM BY 58! (...or maybe not, in future good chances that IM and GM ‘marks’ will be move forward to reflect the inflation) 

...In 2013, in most of the tournaments i manage to perform better than my seeding (my usual bench mark) and as a result i manage to gain positive return on my entrance fee investment...sometimes double or triple it (though occassionally zero or negative returns).

My biggest ‘win’ is RM500 cash...not due to top finishing but via winning lucky draw for eligible contestant at one of the INSOFAR events!

Ha! ha! I love Insofar events! Full of surprises! :)


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Terengganu chess in year 2013 is best be described as per Star Wars original trilogies' titles (with slight changes, Chess Odyssey style!)

A New Hope

Watch out Syazwan!...since Terengganu now got a new young star in the form Muhd Aiman Zakwan Azmi...relatively unknown outside Terengganu, he just keep a low profile and among his notable success is winning MSSM Individual (Under 18) title in year 2012. First Terengganu to achieved this!

His last tournament is last month Kuala Terengganu Open. Seeded number 7, he emerged as a champion ahead of his more well known opponents such as Fairul ‘Gambit’ Yusof, Norazmi, Rahim Ramli etc.

(Definitely Aiman Zakwan is a New Hope for Terengganu chess!)

Kuala Terengganu Strikes Back

Terengganu Chess Association is divided by two teams, the Dungun Team and the Kuala Terengganu Team, but unlike politics that normally refer teams as something that is divisive in nature, ‘teams’ in Terengganu chess galaxy are mostly due to logistic reasons. 

So this year it is time for Kuala Terengganu chess to be in power...Its very friendly change of power and chess players/officials are really like one big family.

Before this Terengganu Chess Association centered in Kuala Terengganu, then few years back it was Dungun, now its back to Kuala Terengganu. There is no fighting for power, no lobbying for post etc. Previous President (Rahim Ramli) feels it was time for others to lead and voluntarily steps down paving the way for Dr Mohd Pouzi Hamzah to be new President.

Rahim is still supporting Terengganu Chess though he no longer President, organising tournaments here and there...all for love of the game and genuine interest to see chess prosper. 

Friendship, sharing common passion, harmony, respect for each other....all these and more makes me proud to be part of big, Terengganu chess family.  

(Above aggressive and combative sub title (Kuala Terengganu Strikes Back) is for gimmick purpose only and not in anyway reflect the competition or rivalry (there is none!) at Terengganu chess galaxy.)

Return of the Ghalam

Ghalam Sani, Terengganu chess legend, make a come back to chess in 2013 after god knows how many years of retirement.

Ghalam Sani reminds me of Fischer...tall, skinny, endgame artis,, succesful chess career...legend status in their respective mother land... Retirement... Reclusive... comeback again after 20 years of retirement etc.

...anyway his come back is not as a player (that i hope for )but more as a chess official.

He is currently Terengganu Chess Association’s Deputy President.

He is also of course MCF’s Vice President. Winning it by the highest votes.

(But unlike Fischer, i hope that Ghalam did not disappear again into oblivion after this comeback...someone quick grabbed his shirt, glued his shoes to the floor before he dissappeared again!)

I naturally have no choice but to end up this posting with this wish....

May The Force Be With Terengganu Chess!

Next Posting: 2013 ILHAM CHESS IN REVIEW