Thursday, October 06, 2016


 Nowadays I become an arbiter more than being a player. I have arbitrated the Kelantan Closed back in January, the Kelantan Age Groups 1.0 - 3.0, the Mahabbah blitzes, the MSSK in Kuala Krai and the MSSM in Kota Bharu (although being only a pairing arbiter), UiTM Open in August, Cobra Blitz and SK Temangan Open in September. In two more days, I will be arbitrating the National Sports Day Open.

I admit that during my arbitration, there were many instances where I made a wrong call. Most recently in Cobra Blitz, I gave a win to the opponent when the other player made an illegal move, retracted it and played a legal move before pushing his clock. When I checked The Official Rules of Chess written by Eric Schiller, page 77, it clearly states that 'An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started. The opponent is then entitled to claim a win before making a move. Once the opponent has made a move, an illegal move cannot be corrected.'

This is of course a special rule for the blitz only, whereas in standard games, an illegal move must be replaced with a legal move once the position immediately before the illegal move is reinstated. Of course, it comes with time penalty for the offender. (Article 7.4)

Most of the tournament held nowadays in Kelantan are rapids, so coaches make it compulsory to equip their players, especially the young ones, with 'the illegal move arsenal'. I've seen a lot of these players won their games after the opponents made illegal moves. They were quick to raise their hands and claim it; you could even see many hands raised at the same time in Under 12 category.

My advice is, to coaches out there, please teach your players about the illegal move. Although according to this article it is one of the most difficult concepts to explain to beginners, at least you can teach them this simple rule: a king must never be moved into check, or left in check.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


The dust has finally settled at SMK Pahi, Kuala Krai and 36 players from 368 hopeful competitors have been selected to be the representatives for the Kelantan state team in MSSM which will be held next month at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan main hall, Pengkalan Chepa. I was selected as one of the pairing arbiters and am relishing the opportunity to perform the same task in the national chess event. 

The pairing arbiters

The state selection, which was held from 23 to 26 July, produced some interesting games. I saw a Chinese boy checkmated his opponent in the Rook + Bishop vs Rook situation, which was really a hard task to do. Nevertheless, I want to share a game where one of my students from Tumpat district failed to capitalized on his material advantage and drew the game instead. 

Danial (playing Black) moved his King to c5

Zull Heikal (KKR) vs Wan Md Danial (TPT)

From this position, as you can see in the picture above, Danial moved his King to c5. The game continued 2.Ke4 Kb5 3.Ke5 Bg4 4.Kf6 Bh5 5.f5 and Danial had a hard time defending his position afterwards.

However, he should have moved his King to d5 covering key squares and pushing the opponent's King further down the board. 

1... Kd5 2.Kf3 Bf5 3.Ke3 Bg4 

This move covers f3 so Heikal would have to make way for Danial's King to enter the key square e4 and take the Kingside pawns. As to rub salt into the wound, Heikal went on to represent Kelantan via the play offs while Danial was left painfully outside the top 10 by getting the 11th placing.

In the under 12 Boys play off, another of my student, Zal Hasani Aqil had a winning position but failed to find the correct move and lost. 

Zal Hasani Aqil (playing Black) gave check at d3
Md Hanif (TMH) vs Zal Hasani Aqil (TPT)

From this position, Aqil gave check at d3 and went on to lose the game. Instead, he should have found 1... Qh1+ which was winning if he really trained his eyes and looked at the board really closely. He too handed over the baton to his opponent when a win would have ensured him into the Kelantan team instead of that opponent. 
As a coach, you would be really upset watching your students lose this way but the experience was priceless if your students could really take something from that. 

Friday, July 15, 2016


After a week long of Hari Raya holidays, Tumpat chess players started up their engines and, for the first time ever, headed to SMK Sungai Pinang for the selection. It was a good venue for chess, and a good additional choice of venue for next Tumpat selections. As far as I know, the selections have so far been held at SK Kampong Laut, SMKA Falahiah and also SMK Chabang Empat. For your information, other districts have also held, or are currently holding, their selection: 

Tanah Merah (12-13 July 2016)
Pasir Puteh (13-14 July 2016)
Kota Bharu (16-17 July 2016)

Tumpat selection was held for only one day (13 July 2016) and all categories recorded very satisfactory attendance amidst the exams and school programmes:

U12 Boys (34 players)
U12 Girls (25 players)
U15 Boys (25 players)
U15 Girls (21 players)
U18 Boys (34 players)
U18 Girls (23 players)

Total : 162 players

There were 9 secondary schools and 7 primary schools sending their players for the selection: 

SMK Chabang Empat
SMK Kampong Laut
SMK Sungai Pinang
SMK Kutan
SMK Mahmud Mahyiddin
SMK Geting
SMK Tumpat
SMKA Falahiah

SK Berangan 1
SK Kutan
SK Kampong Laut
SK Palekbang
SK Pulau Beluru
SK Pengkalan Kubor 2
SK Padang Pohon Tanjung

The Tumpat District Officer himself handed the prizes to the winners after his motivating speech of urging the sports glory to rival Tumpat being the number one district in Kelantan in the academic achievement.  

Personally, only one player from my school won the top prize in her category. Nor Muniera Farhin, a fifth former, made it a priority to win the chess selection even though she is a target SPM student for this year. The others were first timers and did not make the Tumpat team. 

Friday, March 18, 2016


Kelantan 2016 MAKSAK Team

This year MAKSAK was held at the Bluewave Hotel in Shah Alam, starting from 11 to 13 March. This time, Kelantan could not field its usual team as Nik Mohd Nazri was waiting for his newborn. Thus, we searched for one of our previous member, Nik Mazlan Nik Soh to complete the team:

  1. Baharuddin Hamzah
  2. Muhammad Ariez Azman
  3. Md Anis Rahimi
  4. Yours Truly
  5. Nik Mazlan Nik Soh
  6. Mohd Saufi Deraman
Our van, which also brought along a member of MAKSAK Johor team, Dr. Nasrul Humaimi, the Vice President of PCNK, took the usual Kelantan - Pahang - KL - Shah Alam route. We stopped at Lipis for lunch at the home of another Vice President of PCNK, Mr. Rhozisham. 

Mr. Rhozisham prepared us a very delicious lunch

We finally arrived at Intekma Resort, a resort under UiTM Shah Alam management, at approximately 5.30 p.m. We checked in after our chief de mission, Tg Petra, confirmed our room numbers. I was with Baharuddin and Ariez at fourth floor while Anis, Nik Mazlan and Mohd Saufi, all of whom were smokers, were in the other room at second floor. The room was okay and the service was excellent, in my humble opinion at least. We even got to know the room service worker, thanks to our talkative Ariez. However, it was not until I wrote this post that I stumbled upon information that the resort was haunted as we did not encounter any happenings during our stay there.

The official resort for Kelantan MAKSAK team

The playing ground, the five-star rated Bluewave Hotel, was situated in the middle of the city. The playing hall for chess, however, was quite cramped compared to the playing halls for dart and carom. Therefore, nobody except the officials and the players were allowed inside the hall during the games. There was also a podium where the first pairing locked their horns using digital boards, which broadcasted the games live. The Kelantan team only managed to play on it once, that was in the final game against the eventual champions, Kuala Lumpur. 

Yours Truly waiting for the opponent

Imagine our surprise when we saw that the Deputy President of PCNK, Mr. Nik Ahmad Farouqi, was the coach for the Selangor MAKSAK team. Our teams were paired in the second last round, and we eventually drew. I was the last one to draw my game against Syed Abdul Rahman and I regretted it as I was in the winning position which, if won, would surely guaranteed at least a prize. 

Kelantan vs Nik Farouqi's Selangor
Kelantan team was dubbed as 'the master of draws' for drawing too many times, including games where we should have won. We drew against PDRM in our first game, Pahang in our third game, Selangor in our sixth game and Kuala Lumpur in our last game. 

Kelantan vs Pahang, one of the games which were drawn

Were were seeded sixth because of our last performance in Kedah, and were paired against PDRM for the first round. We finally ended seventh after drawing 4 times, winning twice and lost once to Terengganu, which was EXACTLY the same results in Kedah! (We drew 4 times, won twice and lost once to Terengganu also). What a coincidence. 

Kelantan vs PDRM, our first game

Our ex-Vice President, Mr. Abdul Haq, who is currently living in Shah Alam, stopped by to see the team. He brought the team for lunch at D-Wok, a branch of Kak Wok rice, in Section 13. We were quite astonished when he informed that there were 5 similar restaurants in Shah Alam area alone. 

The team having late lunch at D-Wok, Section 13

The team performance can be summed up below (taken from chessresults):

The final standing:

This MAKSAK was special to me as I had the opportunity to face one of my respected coach, Mr. Rizal Ahmad Kamal from Kuala Lumpur MAKSAK team. He was the one who shaped my chess repertoire during my IIUM days and I am forever thankful to him for that. Although I initially surprised him by playing one of Kuala Lumpur's pet line in our game, he, who has vast knowledge in chess openings, quickly had good positions. Nevertheless, with Kuala Lumpur needing only a draw, and indeed, all the three boards had already drawn their games, he gladly offered me a draw. (You may click on the picture below to see our game).

Facing my mentor, Mr. Rizal Ahmad Kamal

Friday, January 08, 2016


It has been a week into the new year and it has been very stimulating in terms of my chess life. Workloads prevent me from blogging all this while, but I try to take some time writing for the start of the year. Sitting at the helm of the PCNK pressures me to become very active in order to deliver the promise that PCNK will be better compared to last year. On top of that, the usual task of arranging teachers' teaching schedule at my workplace has also made it paramount to divide my responsibilities equally. 

On the PCNK side, we have started a revolution of sorts by publishing a calendar of PCNK programmes for this year. We also collect the annual fee in order to determine the eagerness of the members to be actively involved in the activities. The method of the payment for chess tournament organized by PCNK has also been upgraded. We do not want any delay in tournament schedule anymore and this can be greatly achieved by not accepting any payment on the tournament day. 

I've recently managed to get in touch with some old friends from IIUM days and they, being Kelantanese, too want to get involved with PCNK programmes this year. It is heartwarming to actually receive some help from them in organizing the planned events as PCNK is a non-profit organization and it is run by committees with other commitments like myself. 

Performance wise, I would like to set myself a target of regaining 2000 FIDE rating for stardard games that I've lost last year and to achieve 1800 National Rating. In order to do that I must strive to get some FIDE rated events under my belt while keeping National Rated events also in check. 

I could see exciting times ahead. MOVE ON!


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