Thursday, October 1, 2015



No, this is not a scene in Europe or the US..

It's right here in Singapore!  That's right. And you thought chess is only played by kids here :-)

Well, the adult scene is thankfully kept alive thanks to the efforts of Bradley Loh, a FIDE-rated enthusiast who sets up the boards and tables for the regular meetup group to play at the Asia Square Tower 1 foyer from 6.30pm till 9.30pm Wednesdays. As I had no teaching to do, I thought I'd pop by to check out the action.

There were about 18 or so players who milled in and out of the event, many of whom I do not recognise. However once seated, the action was fast and furious. The lighting was good though I'd wish the PSI was lower than the 100+ then. I introduced myself to Bradley and being every good organiser he whisked me to an opponent to blitz in less than 30 seconds. It was a good mix of locals and foreigners playing blitz, skittles and there was a puzzle set up and the winner gets a mini-bottle of red wine. I soon met up with R my ex-student and he got the right answer but graciously shared the bottle.

One encouraging sign was that there was a lady who came and played till it was time to close. No clocks. But the moves were good. Others were more into blitz and 10 minutes. Well, to each his own.

Looks like a good hangout for those who haven't played for ages to come on down and pick on players your own size.

If you need information on this meetup, please click here.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Many readers having read my post on the SCF Elections were confused as to the hat I am wearing whilst writing that post.

I must apologise for the confusion that followed, as it was impulsive of me not to consider my change of status writing that post the day following the elections.

Let me state henceworth that ALL of my posts are of my personal views alone and do not represent that of the organisation I serve.

Thank you for your attention.

Monday, September 7, 2015


The Johore and Penang Opens have published their prospectus as both tournaments run back to back, with the Penang starting from 7 to 12 Dec  followed by the Johore Open from 14 to 19 Dec. A good 2 weeks of serious chessplaying awaits those who yearn for long drawn battles where stamina and nerves outplay impulse and speed.

The PENANG OPEN prospectus

The JOHORE OPEN prospectus

Serious standard chess players should make their trip bookings early as these tournaments are very well attended and often the hotel rooms are quickly full. Based on experience, Penang's public transport is not as convenient so if you are staying some distance away from the Red Rock it may be some hassle getting to the playing venue on time. The venue however, is simply wonderful!

This is what it looks like at last year's Johore Open at the 36th floor of the City Square Tower. I am sure it will even be better furnished. Thanks to the organisers for the photos!

The Penang Chess Association has organised a charter bus to take players from the Penang Open after its last round on 13th Dec 9pm arriving at Johore Bahru 8pm 14 Dec, ahead of  time for registration and checkin at 2 before 1st round starts at 3.30pm.

Have a chess-filled December this year!

Friday, August 21, 2015


My FI card arrived yesterday !

Thursday, August 20, 2015


DISCLAIMER: This post is written by a chess trainer.

There is an acute shortage of chess educators on this island. 

Back in the early 21st century we saw institutions like Intchess hiring as many as 32 trainers to cope with the demand for chess education in schools. Other institutions like Powerchess, Chesskidz, Chess Academy and over the last 10 years we have also seen more recent players like Checkmate and Master Move come into the scholastic scene as well. Freelance trainers like myself are but a handful. However, the pool could barely cover the demands of enrichment programs relating to chess from the primary schools locally. 

With the government's policy of curbing foreign talent, employment passes for chess trainers are hard to get and existing ones not renewed when the term expired. Singapore is now facing a chess trainer crunch when the number of trainers available are dwindling and yet demand is on the rise.

Many schools have placed their tenders on Gebiz calling for term or annual chess training contracts but I observed many re-tenders and some schools could not find any trainer despite months of notice given. The situation worsened with the closure of Chesskidz recently. 

Looks like it is up to the locals to step up and take on the vacancies left, but I guess the remuneration and other terms may need to be revised before it is lucrative. The other factor is the timing - many schools want Chess CCA on a particular day. It will not be possible for any institution to solve the huge demand of chess trainers on a single day. 

What solutions are available? Here are some of mine.


    More trainer seminars may need to be conducted to accredit interested individuals to look into chess training as a full-time career. It would be good if these courses are also recognised by the WDA who can subsidise the course fees. I expect many PMETs who are middle-aged to be interested in considering a chess training career given this push. 


    The use of Internet podcasts may also be the way to go to alleviate the surge of demand on particular days by the schools for chess education. Hypothetically, if material rights can be secured for public broadcast, it is then possible to stream  videos, at the beginner's level, to schoolchildren during the CCA period. What is needed perhaps is someone to answer the questions children may have. 


   If SCF can work with the MOE on formalising chess for schools by official adopting chess as a CCA in all schools, there should be possibilites to tap on its resources. Some school teachers can be trained to teach chess as a subject which will solve the acute manpower crunch. 

What matters is the approach to convince the MOE that chess deserves to be considered in its curriculum. As Singapore moves along the lines of a Thinking Nation, it is imperative that we develop good thinking and concentration skills among our students. Of course, some may argue that chess is not the only vehicle for this course, but then again chess is currently the most formalised board game in terms of acceptance as a teaching tool world-wide. 

Friday, August 14, 2015


It's taking place just around the corner, have you formed your teams yet?

Take this opportunity to gather inactive and retired chess-players and join! School teams should take this opportunity as a warm up tournament for the coming National Inter Schools.

We hope to do better than last year's turnout - let's make it a vibrant tournament !

Details are available here.