Thursday, April 30, 2009


White to move

White: iiumchessmaster (2294)
Black: mariomar (2346)
online game

Rook endgames are the most common type of chess endgames played in chess literature. Every chess players need to know how to play the rook endgames correctly to achieve victory. Even when you are a pawn up, there is no guarantee that you will win the game. Here, my opponent is a pawn up, but his rook position is passively guarding the passed d-pawn which I promptly block with my rook.

Blocking the passed pawn and at the same time attacking the queenside pawns.

1.... Kf7
Trying to bring the King to more aggressive squares in the middle. The King also likes to replace the rook as the guardian of the passed pawn.

Giving Black no time to regroup by attacking the pawns.

2... bxa4 3.bxa4 Ke7 4.Ra5

Now Black has to choose between guarding the a-pawn or trying his luck with the passed d-pawn. He chose the latter.

4... f4 5.Rxa6 Re3 6.b4
Starting the passed pawns rolling.

6... Rb3 7.b5 Rb2+ 8.Kf1 Ke6
The Black King tries to cross over through the middle to help in delivering checkmate. In the meantime, White is banking on crowning one of his pawns to win the game.

9.Rb6 Ke5 10.a5 Kd4

Black throws away his passed pawn in his haste to checkmate White's King, which White duly accepts.

11.Rxd6+ Ke3 12.b6 Kxf3

Here Black should have take the draw with 12... Rb1+, but with his rating at stake, he tried to find a win. A quick glance at the board shows an ugly sight for White, but he has defensive resources.

13.Rd3+! Ke4 14.Ra3
Rook behind passed pawn, a basic rook endgame theory.

14... Kd5?
Again Black tries for a win, but this time there is no saving the game. He should have took the draw with 14... Rb1+.

15.a6 Rxb6 16.a7 1-0

Final position

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The results for SMACH Open is out, and IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (picture right) predictably won all his games easily. I couldn't even think this tournament qualified as a warm-up for his quest for the Grandmaster title, as none of his opponents could even chase his shadow, moreover shake his mantle. The final standing:

1. IM Mas Hafizulhelmi
2. Baharuddin Hamzah
3. Ahmad Rizal Othman
4. Muhammad Arshad
5. Fairul Yusoff
6. Bakri Jusoh
7. M Syazwan Zulkifli
8. Sansubari
9. Hamlee Ismail
10. Ahmad Zulhilmi

See full results here.

Whereas in the under-18, Wan Mohd Adli (picture left) finished unscathed ahead of more fancied opponents such as Izzul Ikhwan, Ahza Daisam and Mohd Abhar Akmal.

For full results, click here. For more pictures, click here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Playing with the Knights

Children are restless. Teaching them chess requires patience and creativity. In order to instill the chess skills and knowledge into their minds, the training method should be more interesting than their daily dose of cartoons. One of the method for training knight moves I could find is created by Brunia and Van Wijgerden, two prominent chess authors. In the diagram below, 8 pawns are placed in the middle of the board. The players have to capture all opponents pawns in as few moves as possible in order to win the game. To make the game more interesting for children, place sweets instead of pawns.

One more method is putting a knight at one corner of the board and make a competition between them where the winner is the one who covered the whole board with the least knight moves.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Date: 25th April 2009
Venue: SM Sains, Machang, Kelantan
Format: Swiss 25 minutes

Kelantan residents (work/study/born/reside in Kelantan) RM15
Kelantan non-residents RM25
Secondary school students RM10
Primary school students RM5

Open champion: RM300
Secondary school (under-18): RM100
Secondary school (under-15): RM100
Primary school (under-12): RM50

It is tournament time again in Kelantan. This time it will be a rapid game of 25 minutes per player per game. The fees will be according to residential status, where Kelantan players will be given priorities. I don't know whether non-Kelantanese players who work, study, born or reside outside Kelantan will be eligible, because both the websites I referred to (Badbishops and Masterchess91) do not mention it. The prizes mentioned are the first prize for each category but I like to think that there will be prizes until 10th placing, as usual. However, any clarifications can be forwarded to En. Wan Rozuhan at 013-9389819.

For those who don't know how to get to SM Sains Machang, click here. You can also surf the school's official website.

Good luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The selection, which was held on 18th - 19th April 2009 at The Dato' Athur Tan Chess Centre, Kuala Lumpur, saw the only Kelantan representative, Laila Husna Sahadi (picture right), soundly beaten by her compatriots in under-14 group. She battled her wits against Amira Syahmina, Pavitranayagi, and the eventual group champion, Hoh Tjin Li, but failed to overcome them and finished without a single point. The result showed that Kelantan chess is not quite up to par with other states' chess development as yet, but having a representative for this prestigous event promised a bright future for Kelantan youths.

But Laila, don't be discourage! Try again next year. The full results (taken from MCF's website):

Boys categories:

Girls categories:

Friday, April 17, 2009


The Vancura position is a draw, but the defender has to know the correct defense in order to achieve it. The idea is simple, the defending side (in this diagram, Black) has to give checks to the attacking King from the side. The attacking rook has to be in front of the pawn (a or h-pawn), defending it from the opponent's rook. Example of play is demonstrated below:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well, it was only a glitch after all. I knew that it will not last long, and it was only due to some maintenance by the FIDE. The latest rating put me into 92nd in the country, and the ranking will always go down, unless I play some rated games soon. But this will be unlikely, as long as my wife is living far away from me, because I will not waste my holidays for a mere rated chess tournament. I also miss my son a lot, he is staying with my in-laws at Tanah Merah. But all is not lost, I will use this hibernation to prepare myself to be sharper and increase my knowledge in updated theoretical battles. Beware!

Monday, April 13, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS to one of our MSSM golden girls, Laila Husna Sahadi, who is selected to play in the International Age Group Selection which will be held this Saturday at The Dato' Arthur Tan Chess Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The champion of this selection will be representing Malaysia to international age group tournaments all around the world.

Laila Husna's seletion was based on the results of the National Age Group Chess Championship 2009 where she managed to take the bronze for her performance in the under-14 age group selection. This latest victory followed her brilliant performance for Kelantan team in the MSSM girl under-15 group where she took the gold and also the best board.

I hope that this will be the stepping stone for her to become a great chess player one day. You can read more about this girl at Masterchess91's blog.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Look at the above picture carefully. There are several mistakes in the picture which can only detected by a true chess player.Want a clue?


Well, there are two mistakes:

1. Black moves first. In chess, White always moves first.
2. The square at the right side of the board is dark colour.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Position after 20.Rac1

The board (sorry I captured it from the side, just for fun) shows the current position in the duel between arkurni and iiumchessmaster which has been ongoing since 7th of December last year. The pieces and the pawns are completely equal, and there is no immediate attack for both sides. White, however, just positioned his rook to control the only open line. What is the best reply for Black?

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I found MCF rating list after browsing Setiachess blog. I was rated at 1681 compared to my FIDE rating of 2065. However, I was shocked when browsing the FIDE website to find that my FIDE rating was removed. At first, I thought that this is due to my inactivity in rated chess tournaments. But, I was even more surprised when I browse for Malaysian rated players in FIDE official rating list. I found that there are no rated players in Malaysia! Is the FIDE website faulty or I did not find the correct link? Somebody help me in this matter, please.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


It was the last game of the tournament. At board one, the championship was at stake. It was either me or him. A draw was not sufficient as he was half a point in front at the start of the game. I was playing white. After six moves, I thought he made an opening mistake. I pounced and took his King's right to castle before feasting on pawns. However, I was so far behind in development when he started attacking and shattered my pawn formation. Several weak moves later, I started to panic when his centre pawns look menacing enough. The game finally ended when I blundered a rook. After the game, I finally realized that the variation he played was home prepared and I was foolish enough to enter into his territory. Who was he? (Kindly highlight the name of the Black player to know the answer)

White: Yours Truly
Black: Nizam Hamzah
Allegro BPM Kelantan (6)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Nxf7 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Kg8 13.Qxc6 Be6 14.Be3 Rc8 15.Qe4 Bf5 16.Qd5+ e6 17.Qb3 Rb8 18.Qa4 Rxb2 19.Rc1 Qc8 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.Qxe4 d5 22.Qe5 Bg7 23.Qd6 Bc3+ 24.Bd2 Rb6 25.Qf4 e5 26.Qf3 Bxd2+ 27.Kxd2 Qe6 28.Rhd1 Kg7 29.Ke1 Rd6 30.Qc3 Rf8 31.Rb1 Rf7 32.Rd3 Rc6 33.Qb3 Rb6 0-1


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