Monday, November 3, 2014


Time to dust off my chess collectible playing sets, so why not parade them?

The above is the Swedish Tavling's model set that was widely used in Scandinavia during the time I was there during 1989. Its uniqueness lies in the pawns which have a wide base,very stable but hard to execute captures, so not very blitz friendly. The Knights' necks  are angled and gives a nice touch to hold. Not weighted.

I have quite a few of these sets which I bought from a warehouse in River Valley Rd when they were closing in 1981. Only $15 a set as they were clearing their warehouse! The laquer is coming off but otherwise still playworthy. These were the top-range French sets made before the Chavet line and were used mainly in the 70's and early 80s. Gave several of them as gifts and only 3 remained. 

My Chavet set is not with me but the German Staunton (currently the model used with most DGT boards) is now the de-facto tourament standard. These I got rather cheaply from a sportshop in Peninsula Plaza but they have stopped importing, so the owner says because there is no demand. Sad..

My Russian friend took this from his apartment in Moscow and give it to me ! Thanks again Leonid! This is a GM3 Soviet set used in tournaments in USSR back in the 60s to 70s but now no longer in production. Though I had the GM2 set before (bought in 1992 from a player at the Manila Olympiad), I lost that during my move to my current place. That had a plastic Knight's head instead so I wasn't too fond of it.

The Indonesians are great craftsmen and it shows in their attention to detail in their Staunton design. The Knights are intricately crafted. Though the wood is not so good but the crafting made up for it. Bought this from a vendor displaying them at the last World Amateur Championships in April this year.

When I was returning to Singapore in 1989, I stopped over London for the Candidates match then played at Sadler Well's theatre. Karpov was on the ropes against Yusupov, Speelman was battling Timman. While I was there I visited Peter Morrish at Edgeware who persuaded to me to take his last 2 wooden sets for a bargain of 30 pounds a set. Later I was to know that they were the replica of the Reykjavik 1972 set used in the Fischer - Spassky match! A gem.

I came across this Zagreb set on going for USD40 and couldn't resist. Managed to get my childhood friend to bring it on his visit to Singapore. The Knights looked drooping (typical of the old Russian design) and   there were crosses on the Kings (which were evidently absent from the Dubrovnik set). 

Still short of the Spanish, Hungarian playing sets and I believe I should have completed my personal collection of playing sets. Working on it..

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Took 24 days to arrive but well worth the wait! I now own the Dubrovnik 1950 Olympiad chess set that Bobby Fischer uses for his game analysis. His set is not weighted but mine is double weighted.

That makes it more a playing set that an analysis set, but still I love the carved knights and the absence of the cross for the King ( suitable for Malaysia and Indonesia). It's got a nice feel when gripping the pieces, the pawns are sturdy and sit promptly when released. Can't ask for a better set. Need to find the right sized wooden board to complete it.

Interested parties can find this at They are based in India and are reputable. 

Will be featuring more of my collected Staunton pieces later.


Yes, we are once again open from 730pm on Fridays starting tomorrow and will remain open each Friday till end of the year.The last Friday session for 2014 is on 27 December.

Those wanting to gear up for the coming NAG are advised to come and register with me at if you are keen to take part in the endgame league. This is where you can get to play endgame positions with 45 minutes per side, so you can learn to slow down and simulate the NAG environment. The positions (with equal pieces for both sides) will be set up on the day itself. All games are to be recorded. This league will start this Friday and end on 28 November. All registered participants MUST complete the 5 games. We need 6 players minimum to start.

See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Thomson Chess Club is open to all players from age 7 and beyond, however we have seen declining numbers from adult players over the last 6 months. As convenor, I would have to make some hard decisions over the future of the club sessions.

With the convenience of playing over the Internet, it is not a surprise that most adults are beginning to shy away from over-the-board chess. So far the main interested group of chessplayers is the Bulldog team made up of mainly Filipino expats. I laud them for their enthusiasm in wanting to play wherever they can, whenever they can. Such passion existed amongst our local players years ago but sadly with the shift in emphasis on age-group events, the adult scene has been neglected.

Though we as organisers try hard to entice the adults to return to club sessions by providing decent playing conditions, it is hard to content with busy schedules, priorities on other interests and lack of motivation on one's part to play chess for its sake.

Therefore I am contemplating limiting the club sessions to only 30 Friday nights next year. These sessions shall be extended 1030pm latest (pending the CC Management Committee's approval) in order to allow the players time to finish the league games if we start at 8pm sharp. I shall be broadcasting details of the new league next year during the Club Championship on January 25th 2015. If there is still little interest then, I may continue for 2015 but cease the club sessions altogether come 2016 unless there are interested parties willing to take over the running of the club.


I've made this 1 page image of the 2015 Local Chess Calendar which I think will be useful for players wanting to know what's happening for next year.

The information is current as at 11 October though there are notable missing events such as:

Public Service Star Games (normally in March)
Queenstown Age-Group (normally in April)
TCA Junior Chess Championships (held on Good Friday)
Queenstown Club Championship  (normally in June)
5th Patrick Tay Chess Challenge (normally on 2nd week July)
Queenstown Open Championship (normally end August)
Teck Ghee CSC Community Chess Championships (normally September)
Toa Payoh West Championship (normally in 1st week December)

Cairnhill CC is undergoing renovation and will not be hosting events till further notice from their convenors.

The Thomson Chess Fiesta is shifted to March 26 to make way for the Asian Schools' Championships, inevitably so due to the low participation rate from the adults.

Monday, September 22, 2014


2 students, Naython and Isaiah took part in the U10 section of the above tournament. Naython finished 3.5 pts while Isaiah took 2nd place ( 2nd from right in photo) with 6, losing only to Zeke Ng who won. I am very pleased to see Isaiah finally breaking into the 6 pt scoreline, spending his time to find better moves and translating them into winning games. Naython can learn something from this I'm sure. 

I've observed many who brought game cards to play while waiting for the next round to start. Isaiah was quietly tucked in a corner reading his opening notes and preparing for the next opponent. The photo above tells you who has spent his time wisely. 

My long-awaited sabbatical comes in a week's time and looking forward to preparing materials for my students in the upcoming National Age Group in December, as well as those going for the 1st Johor International Open.