Monday, October 12, 2015


Kota Bharu Blitz Chess Tournament was truly a unique event, held in conjunction with the National Sports Day on 10 October 2015. 8 minutes per player, 8 Swiss System rounds with prize money starting from RM188 for the champion, RM88 for the runner up and RM28 for the 10th placing. The Under 12 category was also true to the spirit with RM48 set aside for the winner. Even the dateline for registration was 8 October 2015.

Kelantan Youth and Sports Department was the venue for the event. It started at 2 p.m. to give way for other events such as cycling, running and aerobics to be held in the morning. Millions of Malaysians were involved on the whole in various sports and we were excited to be among the 17648 events which made it into the Malaysian Book of Records. 

Kelantan chess enthusiasts came from all over Kelantan to be involved in this event. Baharuddin, who came from Kuala Krai, won the Open Category while Faridzul Asyraf was second, albeit with the same score. Ariez was half a point behind to take the third prize. 
The champion

Open Category
1. Baharuddin Hamzah - 5 points
2. Mohd Faridzul Asyraf - 5
3. Muhd Ariez Azman - 4.5
4. Abdul Khair Jusoh - 4.5
5. Ghazali Che Cob - 4
6. Muhd Ariji Hasan Basri - 4
7. Norazlin Juarih - 4
8. Marzuki Yaacob - 4
9. Mohd Noor Khairullah - 4
10. Ahmad Mujahid - 4

In the Under 12 Category, Muhammad Ajwad proved to be too hot to handle by his peers when he won all his games effortlessly leaving Mohd Syakir Aiman (second) and Adi Safiuddin (third) two points behind. 

Under 12 Category
1. Muhd Ajwad Md Amin - 6 points
2. Mohd Syakir Aiman - 4
3. Adi Safiuddin - 4
4. Nik Abd Qayyum - 4
5. Wan Nurul Aisyah - 4

The winners with PCNK committee members

On the somber note, the KB Blitz was not without blunders, to use a chess term. The invitation letter to the school students was rejected 3 days before the event by the State Education Department merely because of the RM5 fee. Curiously, it was approved by the director on Sunday before being blocked by his committee three days later. That seriously hampered our effort to reach the primary school students to boost our participants in the Under 12 Category. Personally, I don't see any harm in imposing the fee as we don't want to make them disregard the tournament if they play without any payment. Time and time again we see players leaving tournaments before the last rounds if they think that they couldn't get any prize. At least by imposing some fee, they will finish the tournament to make what they paid worthwhile. 

As for me, my appointment letter as the arbiter never reached the school where I work. The day being a school day, I couldn't leave as I please, thus making me late to arrive at the tournament hall because the distant between the hall and my school is around 25 kilometres. The State Education Department, again, said that I had to apply for it through e-Pelepasan, upon which, when checked, has to be made 14 days prior. This is totally new to me; I never really know about this before that phone call I made to the department. I tried to follow the correct procedure in applying for my leave, but it seemed that the correct procedure was never really clear to me. 

In the last round, there was an incident where a player claiming for the illegal move. As the arbiter, I was summoned to the table to look at the dispute. He claimed that his opponent pressed the clock before adjusting a fallen Bishop of his. His opponent, on the other hand, claimed that the Bishop fell after he had pressed the clock. To settle the matter, I asked both of them to continue, as there was no chance that I would know who among them was telling the truth. Angrily, the claimant told that he would settle for a draw instead, but that was another matter whatsoever, because he had to offer the draw and his opponent had to accept it for the game to be declared a draw. Fortunately, his opponent accepted the draw without further ado. 

And then there was time when the printer's ink was going out, and the technical problem when my laptop which I used to make the pairings failed to respond accordingly, the tournament finished later than expected. Luckily, we only had to play for six rounds, which preciously saved some time. We were able to give out the prizes before 6.15 p.m. which, in my opinion, quite on schedule. 

So, there were plenty of pluses and minuses which can be taken for holding future tournaments. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


In conjunction with 12th Malaysian Chess Festival, a team tournament will be held this Friday at Mid Valley, KL. It is organized by Dato' Athur Tan Chess Centre (DATCC), a prominent name in chess organising in KL area. The details are as follows:

Date: 18-19 September 2015 (Friday-Saturday)
Format: 9 rounds Swiss system with 25 minutes time allocation to the finish for each player. 
Venue: Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur

It will be a FIDE Rated Rapid event and is already mentioned in FIDE website

PCNK will be sending two teams to the event. I am fortunate enough to be in the team as my current performance is not something I am proud of. However, I will do my best so as not to let the other teammates down. They are currently on a high after getting podium finish here and there, notably in Pahang recently, and they surely don't want me to disturb the ongoing flow. 

As for me, after a mistake which deprived me of taking my students to the UiTM Open this month, the same mistake might cost me a rest day ahead of the journey to KL. The letter which supposedly arrive at my department this week is yet to be seen, thus, I might have to go to school tomorrow before departing.

Hopefully I will get the rest I need before the first round game.

The Red Knight jersey we will be wearing

Friday, August 14, 2015


This Saturday marks the first collaboration between PCNK (Kelantan Chess Association) with Cerdik Catur Enterprise (CCE). We have collaborated with many organisations before (UiTM, KTD, SMACH) and this only adds to it. 

CCE is managed by Stonemaster Mohd Fadhli Zakaria (FIDE 2024) and is currently one of the most active chess organisations in Malaysia. So far, they have organised many tournaments around the peninsular and now they try to spread their wings towards organising chess events in Kelantan also. 

PCNK is only too happy to make collaborations like this and is looking forward to this event. The details:

Date: 15 August 2015 (Saturday)
Venue: Kolej Teknologi Darulnaim, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan.
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 


Hopefully we will see you there this Saturday. 

Friday, June 05, 2015


3 losses, 3 draws and 1 win was all that I could muster at this year's MAKSAK. I continued where I left off from the National Closed, still searching for my old self. I tend to be afraid easily nowadays; even innocent positions became a nightmare for me. Consider the position below taken from my game against Ahmad Mudzafar of Perak. The game was played at night because we had to cram the seven games inside two hectic days so that we could have the closing ceremony early in the morning the next day. The time control was 1 hour to the finish, enough for tired eyes to doze off during complex calculations, especially at night!

Ahmad Mudzafar (Perak) vs Yours Truly (Kelantan)

Black was not far off from development. In fact, I only had to move my Bishop to b7 in order to complete the development. I could even start an attack on his castled King by pushing the pawn to b4. In between these two thoughts, which took me more than 5 precious minutes, I suddenly became wary of his pawn push to d5 square. As though hypnotized, I took my f6 Knight and place it on the d5 square, blundering a piece.

After 14...Nd5

He didn't take too much time to remove the Knight and put it outside the board though. Play continued 15.Nxd5 exd5 16.Qxc6

After 16.Qxc6

A Queen standing on the same file with her King always spells danger. However, having just lost a Knight, I failed to see 16...Bf5 where Black can start an attack towards White's King. He has to flee with 17.Kd2 and with Qa5-Rc8-Rc2 to come, he would not be comfortable (17.Qxd5 is out of the question because Black will get back the lost piece with 17...Qc7+ and 18...Be6).

Instead, I moved 16...Bd7.

After 16...Bd7

The difference between this move and 16...Bf5 is that White's King gets to defend the Bishop with Kb1. 17.Qxd5 Qc8+ 18.Kb1 Be6 19.Qe5 Bxa2+ 20.Kxa2 Qc4+ 21.Kb1

After 21.Kb1

Here I thought of sacrificing another of my piece with 21...Bxa3 to get the perpetual, but I saw that White did not really have to take the Bishop. A simple move like 22.d5 will bring the Queen to the defense of her King already, so I scrapped the plan and moved 21...Rfe8. After 22.Qf5 b4 23.Qd3, Black has no play anymore.

Our judgment in chess really is related with our emotional and physical condition, thus keeping both of them in tiptop condition is a must in order to play our best game. Family and office problems should be settled before any tournament because they would haunt us time and time again during our calculations. Kids and teenagers really don't have these kind of problems, so they could play their game smoothly. This is what I've encountered during the National Closed, and though none of them were there in MAKSAK, the inability to cope with my problems caused me dearly.

Kelantan Team Performance

Kelantan team comprises of:

1. Muhammad Ariez Azman
2. Md Anis Rahimi
3. Yours Truly
4. Baharuddin Hamzah
5. Nik Mohd Nazri Nik Hasan
6. Mohd Saufi Deraman

Overall, the Kelantan team did very well in this MAKSAK. We lost only once to Terengganu, drew 4 and won 2.

Won vs Selangor 2.5 - 1.5
Drew vs Johor 2 - 2
Drew vs Perak 2 - 2
Lost vs Terengganu 0.5 - 3.5
Drew vs ATM 2 - 2
Won vs PDRM 4 - 0
Drew vs KL 2 - 2

(Final standings can be read here).

In fact, we should be able to be third if our last player, Mr. Md Anis Rahimi, completed his onslaught on the Kuala Lumpur player. Instead, he missed a win and gave his opponent the opportunity to get a perpetual which made our team sixth.

This is the position:

Md Anis Rahimi (Kelantan) vs Roslan (KL)

Here, the game continued 1.Ng6 Be7 2.Nxe7+ Qxe7 3.Qg6+ Qg7 4.Qxe6+ Kh7 5.Qxd5 Ng6

After 5...Ng6

The two connected passed pawns should be enough to force a win. Other teammates by now had already calculated this game as 1-0 and we were ecstatic to finally break the hoodoo and become third for the first time in Kelantan MAKSAK history. The game continued 6.e6 Kh6 7.Rc5 Kh7 

After 7...Kh7
8.Qxh5+ Kg8 9.Rc8+ Nf8 10.e7! Qxe7 

After 10...Qxe7

11.Qg6+ ? We could not believe our eyes! The simple 11.Qxg4+ should have won the Rook and the game, and Kelantan would have made the podium finish. Indeed, time trouble makes us do something unbelievable.

Nevertheless, here are some pictures taken from the event:

Kelantan vs Selangor 2.5 - 1.5

With Kelantan state team official

Team registration form

In front of Holiday Villa, Alor Star

Kelantan vs Perak 2 - 2

Final standings

The champions - KL

Nik Mohd Nazri won best board prize

Johor vs Kelantan 2 - 2

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


In the recent Annual General Meeting held during the ZADANO Kelantan Open, PCNK members who were present unanimously voted me to be the new president for 2015-17. This shocked me as I predicted Dr. Nasrul or even Mr. Nik Azrihan to fill the post vacated by Dato' Zaimi. Although I found it hard to take at first, I came to term to their beliefs and will carry on with it as responsibly as I can. I will have to juggle my time wisely between the tasks I already have with the hope that I will not disappoint those under my care. 

Coach of SMK Chabang Empat, Tumpat

I managed only 4 district representatives this year, with the fifth player declined the opportunity to play for Tumpat merely because he did not want to get behind in his studies. Maznie, Nur Asyikin, Nor Muniera Farhin and Muhammad Syahiran Nazwa were the players who trained with me everyday and I was proud of them for getting into the district team. 

Chairman of Tumpat District Chess Technical Committee

It was an unfortunate last day for the Tumpat team as Maznie and Mursyid, who were both on 5.5 points, needed at least a draw to cement the place in the state team. Instead, they lost to their respective opponents and forfeited the golden opportunity. No words could describe my disappointment that day but I know they had fought tooth and nail. It is still a mountain to climb for Tumpat team to be on par with the likes of Kuala Krai and Kota Bharu teams, but it is possible with the proper management of the human resources and talents I currently have. 

President of Kelantan Chess Association (PCNK)

This is my new responsibility. So far, PCNK had organized, or co-organized, at least an event each month, and this should be good for PCNK members or chess enthusiasts in Kelantan on the whole. The Junior Rapid, UiTM Open and ZADANO Kelantan Open in February, KTD Open in March and SMACH Open in April were among the tournaments held to satisfy chess players in Kelantan. Hopefully, with the new selected committee members of PCNK, we will continue to hold tournaments, workshops and will collaborate with any organizations in holding chess related activities. 

Kelantan State Player (The Red Knights)

So far, I was disappointed with my performance in the National Closed, and I feel that I have also let Kelantan team down. Although it was not a team game, still it was a tournament where the players fought under the state name. My next task would be the MAKSAK Team Tournament which will be held in Alor Star at the end of this month, and I hope I will do better this time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Reality hurts. A lot. I must accept the fact that I am not as strong as I once was. Losing to lower rated opponents repeatedly confirms that I am now on the decline. I just could not see what was happening on the board anymore. I developed the pieces and then lost my way in the calculations. I thought finishing marking my students' papers would help me focus on the task, but it did not. The downfall was apparent since game number one where I could not finish off my opponent in an easy endgame.

10 years elapsed since my first FIDE rating of 2065 which eventually went up to 2068 in 2011, and now it stands at 1943, a massive 125 points drop because of a single tournament, The National Closed. This was a tournament I never entered before, and this will be a tournament I will hardly play in the future, considering that I could not even beat a 16++ opponent which will make my task in the upcoming selections harder.

Diagnosing on the factors, I do believe the inability to successfully solve the problems I currently have is the numero uno. Even though I hid them in the back of my head, they still unconsciously disturbed my calculations. Until I am free from these disturbances, I can never play my best games. Sadly, I cannot see a solution to these problems in the near future, which will mean that my best games are still going to be far, far away.

Hopefully, I could drag myself out of these mess sooner rather than later.  

The Red Knights

The Red Knights

As for my teammates, I am glad that they had fared better. Two of them (Dr. Nasrul and Nik Ahmad Farouqi) were among the top 15 in the Open Category while Najihah was 11th in the Female Category. Even though none of the Red Knights managed to become national flag bearer this time, we were proud of our achievement.

You can read more about this in PCNK website.

Friday, March 13, 2015


In 2015, Kelantan chess fans are treated with tournaments for all levels of play, starting with NCCS Rapid Chess Series for age groups, which was held on 19th February at SMK Raja Sakti, Kota Bharu and the much awaited ZADANO Kelantan Open, an international FIDE-rated event, a day later. A turn-out of more than 160 players for each tournament means that Kelantan chess enthusiasts are really craving for playing time after nearly tournament-less year of 2014. 

Personally, I was involved in both. Here are my views on each :

NCCS Rapid Chess Series

Youth players competed in three categories of Under 12, Under 15 and Under 18, respectively. The tournament was a great sparring prelude for the upcoming MSSM which will be in June, as well as respective district and state selections. I was told that there will be other similar tournaments (hence the word SERIES) which will be held at the same venue. I think this is very good for the target group as there will be plenty of tournaments to toughen them up before the big game. 

I brought some of my Project Squad from Tumpat, and one of them did very well in winning the best female under 12 category. 

ZADANO Kelantan Open

I was personally involved with this one, as the organizer and also a player. It was daunting, but it was rewarding. Objectively, the tournament was held to fund the purchase of chess clocks for PCNK. We got what we wanted, and we also got more than we bargained for. Bonds with SMKA Naim and also the Kelantan Sports & Youth Department were sealed, as well as ties with players from Lipis and Kuantan. There will also be new FIDE rated Kelantan players to be added to the existing ones.

The list of ZADANO winners can be read here.

PCNK General Meeting was also held in the eve of the first day, but the turnout was still far from satisfying. Nonetheless, new committee was formed and, reluctantly, I was chosen as the new President for 2015 - 2017 (read about the new committee here).

Anonymously, the meeting agreed that the representatives for the National Closed (a) would be taken from the best in this very tournament, while (b) taking into account their rating qualification. After the final round, this is the final verdict : 

1. Nik Ahmad Farouqi
2. Wan Mohd Adli
3. Yours Truly
4. Nik Mohd Nazri
5. Bakri

There are two slots for State Representatives for the Open Category and another two slots for Female Category. With the FIDE rating of 2063 and National Rating of 1979, Nik Ahmad Farouqi qualified hands down for the first slot. Wan Mohd Adli, with National Rating of 1485, on the other hand, did not qualify because of (b) rating qualification. Therefore, the next best was Yours Truly with the FIDE rating of 2068 and National Rating of 1696, who qualified based on both (a) and (b). Najihah and Nurwahida Atira completed the remaining slots. 

So, here I am, on the verge of competing in a FIDE rated classical time control for the first time since 2011. Hopefully I can do something in this National Closed. I already completed marking for all my students for March test to focus on this tournament. My games at ZADANO were far from convincing, yet, I still believe.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Died 18 January 2015, 9.08 p.m.

I had high hopes for him. I regarded him as one of the candidates to ever get a Grandmaster title for Malaysia. Even though I never had a chance to play against him in tournaments, I know that he was a very gifted player. I really like him as a person, even more so because he represented the very same team I once represented - the IIUM chess team. Although the name has been changed into IIUM Mustangs (IIUM Knights previously), it is of the same honour. I once pictured a contest between the current IIUM Mustangs versus IIUM Knights in my post but now, the Mustangs team will never be the same again.

The latest news I have heard about him was when he fell sick in the Malaysian Chess Festival held here in Kuala Lumpur after drawing with Grandmaster Zhang Zhong. He recovered but his death came as a surprise to me. Leaving the world at a very young age is not in anybody's plan yet God's plan is greater. Let us pray together so that Allah grants his place in the heaven.

Here are some pictures taken from fellow chess players in tribute to him:

If you want to share your stories or your pictures with him in this post, please do so in the comments below. THANK YOU.


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