Saturday, January 30, 2010


My 20km drive to the school ended with a sour note. Nobody turn up for the selection. I was waiting for nearly two hours in vain. Maybe the students mistakenly heard the announcement on Thursday that the co-curricular programme on that particular Saturday was only for the chairmen, vice chairmen and the secretaries of every clubs/uniform bodies, although this should not include the chess selection. Not giving up hope, I will postpone the selection to be held this Monday at 4 p.m. Interested players PLEASE BE THERE.

Nevertheless, while waiting, I conjured up an interesting position against my Chess Genius in my cellphone. White (yours truly) looks like he is going to be a piece down, but yet, it is Black (Chess Genius) who should find a draw if he tries to trap the noble White Knight. This is the critical position:

After 35...f5

Highlight below for answers:

36.f3 Rh8, 37.Nxf5+ exf5, 38.Rxh8 Bxh8, 39.Kb4 Bxd4, 40.b3! Kd6, 41.Kxb5 Kd5, 42.Kb4 and Black holds for a draw.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This Saturday (30th January 2010) there will be a selection for SMKCE students who want to represent their school in this year's competition. I don't know whether there will be a good turnout, but I will train only those who are willing to sacrifice their time. I am told that last year's representative already finished his study, so I have to find new talents. The format of the selection will be chosen according to the number of students.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Position after 40.Rc8

This ending between Hanif vs Yours Truly is still ongoing. Black to move.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Everybody wants good news first, so here it is: there is still hope for chess in MSSM. Reading Gilocatur's blog and Tony Mariadass' article sparks my enthusiasm to share this piece of news with you. The Deputy Prime Minister (who is also the Education Minister) is UNAWARE of the exclusion of the 11 sports from MSSM calendar. This according to the closing address by Tunku Tan Sri Imran (picture right) at the Olympic Council of Malaysia's conference held on Jan 16. A firm believer of grassroots development, he revealed the DPM surprise response when told about the matter:

"How can that be? Here I am talking about making sports a policy in schools and here they have cut the number of sports organised in schools. I am not aware of this."

This brings us to the sad (but not entirely bad, I hope) news: why is that the DPM claimed that he did not know about the exclusion? One can speculate that the MSSM now is in a really bad shape that they did not even bother to consult everybody in charge before making the decision. The cut should not be an excuse for exclusion, instead, the budget should be divided equally to all the sports, remaining of which should be covered by sponsors.

All matters aside, what can we do now is for all responsible parties to start reinstating the excluded sports back into the calendar, and it should be made now, for the school term is already a month old. Failure to act fast will piled up the sports calendar against academic matters, which is the most important thing in school.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It is not a rumour anymore. It is now CONFIRMED that chess is one of the sports SLASHED from the MSSM calendar this year. According the the news, chess, along with 10 other sports, will not be held in the MSSM level because of the budget constraints from the government. This includes sports that have put Malaysia on the world map such as squash, bowling and archery. I found many things which contradicts this unacceptable move.

1. First of all, if I read correctly, our Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Chik said in his opening speech at the Malaysian Chess Festival 2009 about his hope to see a Malaysian Grandmaster to promote the country's name in the international chess scene.

2. The circular from the Ministry of Education itself stating that competitions should be held to improve the game as it is found beneficial for students.

3. The implementation of merit points to help students in their application for universities. Those students who rely on chess as their weapon to gain entry to universities will have to compete with other students in other sports.

Based on these factors, I found it hard to swallow the decision. I can see that many teachers will not be as enthusiastic as ever in coaching their students because there will be no competition at the national level. Slowly but surely, hidden chess talents will not be found in time for SEA Games Jakarta in 2011.

Friday, January 01, 2010


My new year resolutions include trainings and studying in order to improve my chess positional and tactical skills, not to win tournaments, but mainly to teach my students better chess. I will regard my target this year as a success if three of my students make it to the national level (last year's coaching in Gua Musang resulted with two national level players, improving on the year before that with only one player). It is achievable, even though I have yet to know the level of chess players in my new school at Tumpat. Moreover, it is highly motivating to find that the world number one in the chess scene today is the 19-year-old Magnus Carlsen (picture above), who confided in an interview that despite all the glamorous attention he received, he is still your average teenager. So, what is the difference between our teenagers with this humble champion, apart from he is coached by the great Garry Kasparov? Chess environment, of course! Lucky for us the national chess calendar is full of tournaments, despite the economic meltdown predicted for the year 2010. Some of the tournaments for the students are National Age Group Championship in March, National Scholastic Age Group Championship in May, and National Rapid Age Group Tournament in September (all these tournaments are subject to change). Happy new year, young chess players!


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