Friday, November 09, 2018


I haven't played FIDE rated tournament for donkey's years, and when I finally played one last month, I made an effort to find out about the way to calculate FIDE rating. After browsing through the materials, I found a website, ELO Calculator, which really helped me in this aspect. My calculation showed that I lost 3 points from my FIDE rating after the tournament. 

When the latest FIDE rating was published last September, I found mistakes, at least involving me and my teammates ratings. Here are the mistakes:

Yours Truly

According to chess results, I played against 5 rated players with 4/5 results. However, according to FIDE rating website, I only played against 4 rated players with 3/4 results. My rating changed from 2014 into 2011.

Baharuddin Hamzah

According to chess results, Baharuddin played against 3 rated players with 1/3 results. However, according to FIDE rating website, he played against 4 rated players with 1/4 results. This leads to him being deducted up to 16 points for losing to lower rated player whom he didn't meet at the tournament (Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Mohd)! I don't have to stress that this player gets 10 points for defeating Baharuddin then.

There are others who are affected also because of these mistakes. I hope the organiser and FIDE will rectify this promptly.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


I knew competitive chess in 1996 when I was in IIUM Matriculation in Lembah Pantai. The first tournament I entered was IIUM Open held at IIUM Main Campus Petaling Jaya. There I had my first tournament game (a draw against Azhari Mohd Nor) and there also I knew the late IA Abdul Latif Mohamad.

Then, there was no computer pairing system. It was manually done and he was among the experts at that. It was the first of my many encounters with him throughout the years because he was really close with the IIUM Chess Club members, especially Rizal Ahmad Kamal (one of my coach) and his gang.

Fast forward 20 years later, his health deteriorated which limited his participation in chess. I hardly ever met him from 2006 onward, mainly because I had already returned to my hometown to become a teacher. News about him came either from reading in the media or through social interaction with chess friends.

On 20 September 2018, the final news came in sadness. He passed away at approximately 9 p.m. As fellow Muslim, I was grateful because passing away in the eve of a Friday is considered a dream of many Muslims.

May Allah bless you, IA Abdul Latif Mohamad.

* I'm still searching for my old chess files because I might have something original to be shared here. As for now, I'll settled with a profile picture taken from his blog SIFU.mycatur.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Do you believe in fairy tales? Even the most skeptical will surely gasp in awe for the achievement of this petite girl from Pasir Puteh. Why? Here is the story. 

Getting second place in the state selection was the start needed by Nik Nur Afifah Nik Mud. She and her teammates were then involved in the centralised training under the tutelage of Mr. Nik Mohd Nazri, the under 12 coach. Judging by the scores from the selection, Afifah and three others; Fatin, Haifa and Azreen; were equally strong. Coach Nazri and the head coach, Mr. Saufi decided the four of them should be in the team event at the MSSM while the other two would be in the individual event. However, before the SIC Team Championship, the coaches had a change of heart. Afifah was so strong in the training sessions that the coaches were worried her teammates would stripped her of any chances in getting the medal. The results confirmed their assessment, thus Afifah would be playing in the individual event alongside Fatin, the selection champion. 

For the first three rounds, the coaches were unfazed with her ability to outplay her opponents. They didn't even prepare her, as they believed she could do it again the next game. When she asked me about it the night before the fourth round, I said that we didn't want to 'stop the ball rolling' and continued to focus on preparing the under 15s as I was their coach. Unexpectedly, she replied, 'Do I looked like a ball?', prompting my nervous laugh. Therefore, I assured her that we really cared about her and that we just didn't want to stop her momentum. 

True enough. She went all the way. She even offered a draw in the last round while leading the exchange. She had two Rooks and a Bishop compared to her opponents' Rook, Knight and Bishop. Her opponent accepted and got third place. 

One important fact: the final round was on her birthday! So, before the final round, we celebrated her birthday with a cake just outside the main door of the tournament venue. Then, we encouraged her to get the gold as her best birthday present ever. 

The gold medal put Kelantan high in the ranking in terms of gold medal:

1. Penang 4 gold medals
2. Selangor 4 gold medals
3. Kuala Lumpur 3 gold medals
4. Kelantan 1 gold medal

However, Kelantan was eighth in terms of overall points tally:



Wednesday, August 08, 2018


This is the second year I'm involved with the Kelantan MSSM squad. It is a team consisting of old and new talented young chess players gathered from all around Kelantan. Even though many of them are either from Kota Bharu or Kuala Krai, there are also some originated from Pasir Puteh, Pasir Mas, Tanah Merah, Machang and also Tumpat. 

The centralised training was held at SMS Faris Petra during the weekends for the whole of July. In the middle of the training, there was an individual event organised by Persatuan Catur Negeri Kelantan at PROKEL and a team event at Sultan Ismail College. Both tournaments were designed to test the players because they are going to be involved in both events at this MSSM. 

There were a couple of players who won the selection which was held at SMK Pak Badol beforehand, but did not turn up at the training. Both were substituted with the players in the waiting list as we don't want players who cannot give their commitment to the cause. 

The Terengganu MSSM is being held at Dewan Sultan Mizan in the heart of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu premise. It is a very big hall and the playing space is comfortable. Even the praying room and the toilets are very satisfying for me at least. 

As for the team, they are currently doing well, especially the under 12s. They are punching above their weight and there are also two female players who are still with full points from 4 games. This brings hope for the contingent as a gold medal will surely benefit all for they are promised with funds if they succeed in actually bringing it back to Kelantan. 

Today is the fourth day and there will be 2 more games waiting to be won. Hopefully we will be glorious and lift some medals this year. 

For those who are interested, you can follow the results in chess results website. 

Under 12 Boys (Individual) (Team)
Under 12 Girls (Individual) (Team)
Under 15 Boys (Individual) (Team)
Under 15 Girls (Individual) (Team)
Under 18 Boys (Individual) (Team)
Under 18 Girls (Individual) (Team)

Saturday, November 11, 2017


... but you should be aware that it is not like the traditional chess.

However, you can still develop your pieces as usual-the knights to their usual c3 and f3 squares, the bishops need open lines and so on so forth. That was what I did playing this game for the first time, and luckily it still paid dividends. There were four colours - blue, red, green and yellow, and you couldn't choose what colour you would have in this board.

When I was playing, I didn't really know the rules. But I learned as the game went along. One of the players just pushed his pawn up the board and it changed into a queen in the middle of the board! WOW! I was shocked but I managed to neutralized the threat because he wasn't my nearest neighbour. It means he was not sitting on my left, so, there will be a move from another player directly on my left before I replied his. 

Another thing is, you could eat a person's King and get lots of points by doing that! But, that person must be stoned first before his King is permitted to be eaten by anybody or else it would be illegal to do so. By stoning (this is my own word because I don't know the real word for it), I mean he should be out of the game by NOT MOVING WITHIN 1 minute ALLOCATED TIME. Knowing this, I took my left opponent's King after he was stoned.  

In that game, Laserdragon14 was the first one to be stoned WITHOUT MOVING A SINGLE MOVE. I don't know whether he had connection problem or he was also new to this game and didn't know how to play it. His King was then eaten by Salmonete13. Cham2Sul was the second player to get stoned which left me to fight it out with Salmonete13. 

Finally, when I got the hang of the game and controlled the centre, I managed to attack him vigorously. In the end, he could not find the solution and succumbed to the time trouble. This was the final position...

... and the BLUE team won. 

Monday, October 23, 2017


Today, one of my chess playing friend died. He was warded for about a month in the ICU, Kubang Kerian Hospital. I only visited him once, and was not able to talk to him then because he was unconscious. 

Now, what remains is the memory of him playing chess against me when we were in high school, SMU (A) Maahad Muhammadi, Pengkalan Chepa. Luckily, I have a habit of keeping games even though they were only casual games, so, I have three games playing against him in my database. I was quite surprise when I reviewed the games again as they were quite entertaining. 

(I'm sorry for only giving the links, it seems that I don't know how to put in game replayers nowadays. They simply don't work!)

Now let us pray for his well-being the hereafter.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Take my advice - don't start watching them or you'll be stucked.

I have just finished watching 'Ace of Diamond', an anime about baseball. Initially, I wasn't planning on watching any cartoon and wasting my precious time away from my tasks, but one day, I accidentally watched it when my brother switched it on television and I ended up finishing all the 126 episodes! 

I also found out that he has a lot of other animes too, most of them about sports. Among others are:

Baby Steps - an anime about tennis.

Haikyu - an anime about volleyball.

Slam Dunk - an anime about basketball. 

This makes me wonder, if Japan has a lot of animes on sports, does it have an anime on chess? Apparently not. Maybe chess is not a popular sport among Japanese people. However, they do have board games, and one of the animes is Hikaru no Go, an anime about the game Go. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


FIDE World Cup had my attention this year. It is held in Tbilisi, Georgia and it featured one of the best current Malaysian player, IM Yeoh Li Tian. 

I was on holidays but I still found some time to watch the games.

It only lasted two games, but our own IM made them very eventful. I don't have anything but praise for the way IM Yeoh Li Tian took GM Anand in the games. In fact, many of his moves surprised me as they were really energetic. Going for the Queen sacrifice in Round 1 and taking the initiative with the Black pieces in Round 2 gave me goosebumps. It was clear that the ex-World Champion was going for the draw by choosing the exchange variation so Yeoh was forced to play aggressively. In the end, he went down fighting. 


The games

Round 1

Round 2

Some video coverage on the games from Youtube

Friday, August 25, 2017


Tonight I was asked whether I would stop blogging for good. I did not give him a definite answer, but gave him a good hint instead. I cited being busy with school work as the culprit, but I knew that it was not the main reason. Being far away from half of my family really robbed me of weekend treasure. Every Friday and Saturday when I didn't have school events would be filled with programs for my sons and daughters who are currently living separately as siblings. 

However, I managed to arrange a family time even though I am currently reprsenting my state in a chess tournament. In between the two playing days, Kelantan state teams spent some time at Zaaba College, University of Malaya playing chess as friendly gestures with Malaysian PARA chess team which will be playing their games starting on 18 September. The results won't matter, as the experience they got tonight would surely help them to improve before taking on their opponents in the real tournament. 

I played Black with Shaharuddin Sidek. Hopefully he got something from our game.

Friday, April 07, 2017


Starting this month, each district in Kelantan would be organising their own selections hoping to find their best players for the MSSK event which will be held in July. Here are the dates:

10-12 April - Gua Musang
10-12, 17-19 April - Kuala Krai
17-18 April - Machang
24-25 April - Jeli
2-3 May - Tanah Merah
3 May - Tumpat
3-4 May - Pasir Puteh
16-17 May - Bachok
23-24 May - Pasir Mas

Only Kota Bharu selection is still in the dark. 


.. and I wonder if I can ever blog again. This is only the second post for 2017 and we are already in April. It was 5 posts for 2016 and 8 posts the year before. It will be just a matter of time before I stop blogging for sure. SIGH. 

I don't like to copy materials from other sources like many bloggers do, and I rely mostly on my own chess experience in order to write something, therefore, the posts will be lesser and lesser as I play lesser and lesser each year. It doesn't help much that I am newly appointed as the head arbiter for MSSK this year, and is re-elected during the Annual General Meeting on 28 January as the PCNK president which means I can no longer play as much as organising chess events in Kelantan. 

At the time of writing, PCNK had already organised and co-organised several tournaments and a coaching clinic:

28 January - Kelantan Closed & Kelantan Age Group
11 February - UiTM Open
25 February - SMK Pahi Open
25 February - Coaching Course (Beginners)
4 March - Chess2Care Open
31 March - Kuala Krai Junior Open
1 April - Kuala Krai Open (FIDE rated event)

In the mean time, Kelantan was chosen as the home of this year's Malaysian Chess Championship. The ultimate event was co-organised with MCF and it was held at Al-Khatiri Multi-purpose Hall, Kubang Kerian from 22 - 27 March. The event was nearly called off due to H5N1 outbreak, but with the cooperation of all parties involved, it continued as scheduled. 

With lots of tournaments and courses coming up throughout this year, I would really have to search for suitable time to continue blogging. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I might be whining, but this MAKSAK was my worst to date. Three losses in winning positions spelled my doom which ensured my journey home filled with embarrassment and regret. It was all down to one factor - the time control. I accept that not everybody will see eye to eye with me on this one, but, in my humble opinion, the 45 minutes + 10 seconds increment time control was not my cup of tea, especially when I had to write until the end of the game. When my time was in the mercy of the 10-second increments, I basically had 3 seconds of thinking time after I had done all these:

1. Move the piece
2. Push the clock button
3. Take the pen
4. Write down the move
5. Put the pen down again

I did not even see basic tactics - pushing passed pawns, taking free pawns or basic forks and checks as I was too engrossed with writing down moves as per required. I might be smiling and congratulating my victorious opponents at the end of the flag, but deep down, I cursed myself for being incapable of thinking faster, which was something that I've been missing nowadays. One of my teammates suggested fatigue as the culprit, but I beg to differ on his opinion. The time control has to be reviewed, at least, as writing down moves using the 10-second increments is next to being impossible to be done. I saw a lot of players neglected writing the moves, and those who wrote, made mistakes they should have never done if left blitzing without the distraction of writing moves. 

Here are the final positions of the lost games:

Game 2: Yours Truly vs Nor Azmi (Terengganu). White to move.

Game 4: Yours Truly vs Zaidi Saleh (Melaka). White to move.

Game 6: Yours Truly vs Amirudin (Perak). White to move.

The Kelantan team fared badly also. We lost a lot of games we should have won had I not lost my games. I felt guilty and gutted, as playing as a team needs everybody's contribution which I clearly did not provide. The team even got a BYE for the last round because of my loss against Perak. This had caused my teammates their best board prizes, and Kelantan to return home empty handed. 

Here is the final rank (click on the picture for chess-results link):

This year also saw a handful of beautiful players playing in the women's individual category. It was a start to what I think will be the women team category next year. Each state may have to scramble to search for female players after this. 

As for Kelantan, we brought Mrs. Haslina to compete in this category, and she did okay, I believe. Here is the results for this category:

Here are some pictures from the event:

Stopped by at PCNK Vice President's place in Lipis

The playing venue

First game - Lost to Sabah

The best line up

The female category contestants

Dinner at Bangi Station

A view from Bangi Station

Baharuddin missed a mate in six moves

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. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails