Friday, November 28, 2008


Ranked 74th in FIDE ranking, Malaysian team finished 96th at recently concluded Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany. A team consisting of IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (2439), FM Lim Yee Weng (2396), FM Mok Tze Meng (2308), IM Jimmy Liew (2306), and Edward Lee however should have performed better, especially against their last round opponent, Guatemala.

Here are the full results for the Malaysian team:

Round 1: Malaysia (74) - Libya (115) 3.5 - 0.5
Round 2: Jersey (143) - Malaysia (74) 1.5 - 2.5
Round 3: Germany 1 (11) - Malaysia (74) 3.5 - 0.5
Round 4: Malaysia (74) - Slovakia (25) 0.5 - 3.5
Round 5: Malaysia (74) - Dominican Republic (76) 2.5 - 1.5
Round 6: Slovenia (28) - Malaysia (74) 3.5 - 0.5
Round 7: Egypt (49) - Malaysia (74) 4 - 0
Round 8: Malaysia (74) - IPCA (77) 1.5 - 2.5
Round 9: Liechtenstein (123) - Malaysia (74) 0.5 - 3.5
Round 10: Equador (65) - Malaysia (74) 2 - 2
Round 11: Malaysia (74) - Guatemala (106) 2 - 2

Thursday, November 27, 2008


When I searched the FIDE website for my rating, I found that two allocations were made for me. One without a rating and the other with 2065. I think FIDE should check into this matter so that no other players have two allocations also. This error maybe because of the mistake in spelling the players name, which is quite confusing especially Chinese names. Rating officer Lim Tse Pin should look at the players ID card so that the correct spelling is sent for rating evaluation. Malay names, eg. mine, have our name and our father's name, so Mr. Lim should determine whether to put father's name in front or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I received a call from Muhammad Arshad (picture), the Secretary of Terengganu Chess Association and the organiser for the Pencarian Jaguh Catur Terengganu Grand Final this coming December. He said that there will be room to let at the hostel of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu which cost RM10 for a night for the players (and their family) during the tournament schedule. I mentioned earlier in my post that I am weighing between two FIDE rated tournaments, and that I will have accommodation problem for the Terengganu meet. However, up to this point, this will solve little as my family literally begs me not to go to both!

According to Catur Terengganu website, so far there are 18 rated players already confirmed their participation.
  1. Ian Udani (2181)
  2. Mohan Raj (1916)
  3. David Gate (I can't find the rating for this guy)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Tomorrow I will travel to Kuala Lumpur with my family. As usual, preparations must be made before embarking on a long journey to ensure you and your family's safety. Oil must be changed, tyres checked, brake tried etc. This holiday will be a test considering that the monsoon season already started. It was non-stop raining for the past two days in Kota Bharu, and travelling in the rain always has some difficulties. Hopefully we arrive there safely.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Venue: CAC Hall, IIUM
Date: 16th November 2008
Format: 8 rounds Swiss
Time control: 20 mins

Utterly disgusted. Two walkovers, two nearly wins, one fighting draw, and three lame losses were not what I'm looking for in my return to IIUM. I'm not going to blame it on the time control, which was slashed from 25 mins to 20 mins only, but for my incapability of competing among the best. Two losses against Fairin and Saprin were not even close to my real capabilities. That and the loss against Mohan Raj which was due to underestimation and succumbed to mate with his one and only hopeful attack, were uncharacteristic of me. However, I can take heart from the fact that I nearly beaten one of my coaches, Mr. Rizal Ahmad Kamal, before accepting his hand for a draw in game 5. The other one, Sargeant Ismail Ahmad, went all the way to the podium for second placing after drawing his last game against the eventual champion Ian Udani.

Here are the top 10 for the Open Category

1. Ian Udani (7.0 points)
2. Ismail Ahmad (7.0)
3. NM Zarul Shazwan (7.0)
4. Mohd Saprin Sabri (6.5)
5. Rizal Ahmad Kamal (6.5)
6. Nor Ilhamuddin (6.5)
7. NM Mohd Kamal Abdullah (6.0)
8. Nik Ahmad Farouqi (6.0)
9. Mohd Khair Wahiduddin (6.0)
10. Muhd Syakir Shazmeer (6.0)
45. Yours Truly (4.5)

Full results can be found here.

Below are pictures from the event.

Waiting for the opponent, who never came, in round 1

146 participants in the lovely CAC Hall

Ian Udani pondering upon his moves (the first board game shown at the screen)

Battling draw against former coach, Rizal AK

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Do you still remember where your chess life began? Well, I do. The game below was the very first game where I learned chess notation, all by myself. I found this game in JAGUH (a small section in Berita Harian newspaper, now non-existent) then I figured out what the Q, B, K means. It influenced me so much I quickly changed my repertoire into Sicilian (previously I was playing French). Then, the irony was that the first game in my first tournament in 1996 at IIUM PJ was against Azhari, where I drew large crowds when I drew with him!

Agus Salim - Azhari Md Noor
Bestari Open 1993 (Round 5), 1993

Sicilian Defense

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 Be6 9.Bc4 b5 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Ne2 Be7 12.Qd3 0–0 13.0–0 d5 14.Bxf6 Rxf6 15.Rad1 d4 16.Kh1 Qf8 17.f3 Rd8 18.Nb1 Nb4 19.Qb3 Rh6 20.f4 Qf6 21.f5 Qh4 22.h3 Qxe4 23.f6 Bxf6 24.Qxe6+ Kh8 25.Ng3 Qd5 26.Qxd5 Nxd5 27.Nf5 Rh5 28.c3 Rxf5 29.Rxf5 Ne3 30.Rxf6 gxf6 31.Rd3 Kg7 32.Nd2 Nc4 33.Ne4 Nxb2 34.Rg3+ Kh8 35.cxd4 exd4 36.Nd2 d3 37.Rf3 Nc4 38.Rf2 Re8 39.Kg1 Re1+ 40.Kh2 Rc1 41.Ne4 0–1

My game against Azhari (pardon the quality of my game because it was my first tournament game).

Me - Azhari Mohd Nor
IIUM Convo Speed Chess (Round 1), 18.08.1996
Petroff Defense

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Bd2 Bxc3 8.bxc3 0-0 9.Bd3 Re8 10.0-0 Bg4 11.Be2 Nd7 12.h3 Bh5 13.Rb1 f5 14.Rb3 g5 15.g4 fxg4 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Rxe5 18.hxg4 Bg6 19.Be3 Qe7 20.Bd4 Re6 21.Rxb7 Nd6 22.Bc5 Rxe2 23.Bxd6 Qe6 24.Bxc7 Qxg4+ 25.Bg3 Be4 26.Qd4 Qxg3+ 27.fxg3 Rg2+ 28.Kh1 Rd2+ 29.Kg1 Rg2+ 30.Kh1 Rd2+ 31.Kg1 Rxd4 32.cxd4 Bxc2 33.Rc1 Be4 34.Rcc7 a5 35.Rg7+ Kh8 36.Rxg5 a4 37.Rgg7 Rc8 38.Rgc7 Rf8 39.Rf7 Rg8 40.Kf2 Bg6 41.Rfe7 Rf8+ 42.Ke3 Rc8 43.Rbc7 Rb8 44.Ra7 Bc2 45.Kd2 Be4 46.Rxe4 dxe4 47.Rxa4 Kg7 48.Ke3 Re8 49.d5 Re5 50.Rd4 Kf7 51.a4 Ke7 52.d6+ Kd7 53.Rxe4 Rg5 54.Kf4 Ra5 55.Re7+ Kxd6 56.Rxh7 Rxa4+ 57.Kf5 Ra3 58.g4 Rf3+ 59.Kg5 Rg3 60.Kf4 Rg1 61.g5 Rf1+ 62.Kg4 Ke6 63.Rh6+ Kf7 64.Rf6+ ½-½

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Its been a long while now that IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (picture right) top the Malaysian chess rating chart, but still there is no grandmaster (GM) in Malaysia. He is currently rated at 2439 and is striving to complete his final GM norm. His employer, Petronas, even backs him and gives him 18 months in order to complete his quest. I originally thought that he only has to upgrade his rating to 24++ to achieve his final GM norm, but I am perplexed how he is still to get his title. I played against him once only - during the simultaneous event at the University of Malaya way back in 1998 - and lost. I would like to play against him again though, one-on-one, hopefully after he achieved his GM title and be the first player to beat a Malaysian GM!

Here is the game I played against him in 1998:

Friday, November 07, 2008


I am weighing my options whether to enter Pencarian Jaguh Catur Terengganu Grand Final (PJCT) or KL Open Chess Championship (KLOCC). Before I discuss the pros and cons of both tournaments, I will give some information about them. The former will be held from 18th - 22nd of December at Terengganu Trade Centre, with a total prize fund of RM18,000, and opened to FIDE rated players only plus 30 selected Terengganu players from 5 grand prix series. While the latter will be held from 15th - 21st of December at Bukit Jalil Stadium, with a total prize fund of RM45,000, and opened to all, albeit with different entrance fees according to the categories.

The Similarities
Both tournaments will claim at least a week of my time from my family. Both will be rated tournaments and will offer a large sum of prize money.

The Pros and Cons
The entry fee for PJCT is RM50 only while the entry fee for KLOCC is RM200 (Open Category). I will have a difficulty in finding a lodging place for PJCT while I have plenty of choices for KLOCC. The level of play for KLOCC will arguably be higher than PJCT (although I admit I will have difficulties in both). I will play against more GMs, IMs and FMs in KLOCC than in PJCT. I will undoubtedly drop more rating points in KLOCC than in PJCT.

The Verdict
I will tell you later because it will involve my family and 2 rakaats of Istikharah prayer!

Dasher (2450) vs Yours Truly


Last night I got a good position against the Dasher. I was an exchange down but the Queen and the Knights had a good opportunity to put a sucker punch. However, in time scramble, I did not find the best continuation. From the position I moved 26... Rf8 and lost. White replied 27.Qc4 and the Queen got to the defense just in time. After I made some analysis, I found the idea of retreating the Bishop to attack another diagonal. I should have moved..

26... Bb7

27.Qxb6 Ba6
The point. Black threatened mate at f1.

White must defend f4, or else my Knight will take this spot with devastating effect. For example 28.Nc2 Nf4! (diagram right) 29.gxf4 Qxf3, 30.Rf1 Qh3

28.... e4, 29. Qc6 Bxd3, 30.Qxa8+ Kh7 and Black should win.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yours Truly vs Computer (FIDE 2400)


Beating a computer chess programme is very hard. It has the ability to refer to its books, make long calculations, and obviously no fear factor. All these make an unfair game against a human player like me. Nevertheless I managed to get the above position against a computer chess programme. I attacked Black's castle position with 16.h6 in order to force his hand. Black replied 26... g6 and suddenly his castle became fragile.


I noticed that the Queen and the Bishop had multiple defending tasks and they could not leave their respective position.

27... Qf8

The Queen dare not leave the diagonal in order to defend the checkmate.

28.Nd4 a3, 29.R5b6 a2, 30.Nxe6 Bxe6, 31.Rxe6 a1=Q+, 32.Ke2 Ra6
Black must defend against the threat of 33.Rxg6+ which will lead to mate.


Pigs (or hogs) on the seventh rank! A dream of every chess player.

34... Ra2, 35.Rg7+ Qxg7, 36.Rxg7 Kh8, 37.Rc7!

A bolt from the blue! Fortunately, I found this move even though I was in severe time trouble. The Rook was immune because of the threat of mate. Now Black must surrender most of his troops to defend his King (a human opponent will resign here).

37... Rxc2+, 38.Bxc2 Qa6+, 39.Bd3 Kg8, 40.Bxa6 Rxc7, 41.Qd8+ Kf7, 42.Qxc7+ Kf8, 43.Qxb8+ Kf7, 44.Qc7+ Kf8, 45.Qg7+ Ke8, 46.Bb5+ Kd8, 47.Qd7# 1-0

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yours Truly vs Kuala Krai Champion


This position arose from the Reti Opening after a middle-game mistake from me which cost me a pawn. Playing against a good opponent who recently won at Kuala Krai, I had to take risks in order to counter his pawn majority on the Queen-side. However, it was not easy, as his Rook was attacking my Knight. After a little while, I moved ...

It was not the best move, but I reckoned 'What the heck'...

28... Rxc3
He obviously wanted me to prove the soundness of my sacrifice.

29.bxa6 Rc8
The champ moved it hastily without thinking that the Rook was in the same line with his King which allowed some tactical chances. 29... Rc7 was a better try.

The point. If the Rook was on c7 this move was not possible. Now the passed pawn guaranteed me at least a Knight.

30... Na5?

A gross blunder. In his try to save his Knight, he forgot that he did not have time to take the menacing passed pawn.

31.Ra4 and black resisted for another 10 moves before surrendering the throne.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Venue: CAC Hall, IIUM
Date: 16th November 2008

Insha Allah, barring any obstacles, I plan to enter the tournament. However, I do not expect to win because it is my first individual tournament since July. Those came from the capital are pump up for it because the prizes are quite alluring. They have plenty of tournaments to practice compared to me who live in Kelantan (Gua Musang, for that matter!). Another reason is that IIUM was my study place for about 6 years and I would love to set my foot again in the beautiful surrounding. Maybe it is good for my preparation towards the rated tournament in Terengganu this coming December.

Further information see Stonemaster's website.

CAC Hall


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