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!