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! 



  1. Add playing in KL Open 2014 to your list. I am not likely to do another after this year! Maybe you can also beat a GM there and kill two birds with one stone

    1. Hi Peter;
      Seriously consider that. Shall privately contact you should this materialized.

      By the way...Is Nafisa Muminova playing?

  2. How about GM Yuri Averbakh ( aged 91) !? but i don't recommend you GM Victor Korchnoi ( aged 82) ??

    1. Hi Hairulov,
      Names you mentioned are just too difficult...

      I guess maybe i stood a brighter chance (though still very much difficult) if i play against GM Herman Suradiraja (Elo 2195)...good chances if i play 5 games i could win one.

  3. Good luck ilham! I'm sure you can do it. You have a plan and a dream! And you seem to have a lot of passion for it ;). Reading your blog posts can be very inspiring!!! Like playing through all Fischer's games. Wow, makes me think that if ilham wants to do it, why not me. Hopefully, other players younger than me can think like that. Thank you man! And haPpy cny!

    1. Thanks LZR,
      I definitely need all the blessings to keep the fire inside me burning :)

      Reading my blog can be inspiring !? You're kidding me...(Blushing!)

      Happy and prosperous CNY to you too!

  4. Hmmm... Nafisa Muminova to have free membership to Ilham's club! I give 4 stars!

    About that National Master, I think u can do it, Ilham!

  5. I can try and persuade Nafisa to come but will you sponsor her plane ticket? Package can include obligation to have dinner every night with benefactor. See, not difficult...