Monday, December 15, 2014


Sue Lyn decided on participating this event on a whim. It was after the National Rapid and I guess she wanted to redeem herself after the slightly disappointing showing there. She rattled off a series of wins in the first 5 rounds, beating the likes of the Champion, along with Alfred Chua and Elmer Arrocena who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. She also took the Best Women's Trophy ! Though she lost the next 3 games, she managed to compose herself to win the final game and secured 6/9. 

If only there was more time spent on reading my opening notes...still, a most commendable effort!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A total of 366 registered for the National Age Group Championships played at the Jurong East Sports Hall. Some foreign entries from India, Malaysia spiced up the competition and gave our local juniors good opportunities to pit their skills against.

 The above managed to garner some of the trophies and my congratulations to them for the work they put in their preparations. Gavin lost the playoff for the best Singaporean result in the Under 12, while Cadence was 10th in the Under8. Sue Lyn lost her last game against Amanda Chan, having beaten the other 2 favourites Erica Chin and Kong U-Ham to finish 4th overall. Bryan came in 8th place overall.

Caleb and Isaiah not in the pictures

Others who took part missed out of the top 10 places but I'm sure they had all matured during the gruelling 4 days. Some took defeat painfully and could not continue, while on the other end of the spectrum, we also have those who did not think much about losing a game. The correct attitude towards treating a loss should be: yes, it is painful but more importantly, one must seek the reasons for the loss with deep analysis of the game played and errors are to be sought and corrected. No improvement can be attained if this critical step is not taken in every chessplayer's career. 

We had a workshop conducted to ensure that they understand how the pace of the game must be slowed in order to minimise losses. However, many are still trying to cope with the pace of play and made unforced errors. Opening lines were also not well memorised and therefore their games drifted into unknown territory. Besides time management, preparation for such a tournament also requires well-studied middlegame positions and clear understanding of the endgames that will result. 

 Indeed, it takes a lot of conditioning before they can perform at standard chess. To those who did not score above 4 pts, there is work to do in the areas you are weak at. Generally, I am satisfied at the overall behaviour of my students throughout the 4 days. We now take a short break and brace for the next major event - Back to School!


Here are some of my students who took part in the Toa Payoh West CC Tournament on 7 December, playing in the Under 7, Under 9 and Under 13 sections.

The U13 Section was won by Tan Qi Xuan who I taught for over a year. He was able to focus on his game and between rounds read my opening notes whilst his friends were busy playing with their computer games. Hence his victory was well deserved. Drawing the last game, he scored 6.0 pts out of 7 and took home $55 cash plus a trophy. 


My other students fared well, Arshia winning the Under 7 section with full score, while Christian (3rd in Under9), Rui Yang, Jaryl, Jasper and Joshua (5th placing in Under13) )took home trophies as well. Ju;ius and Teck Yong managed 6th and 7th respectively in the Under 9.

Jaryl took a break from chess and resumed his lessons to prepare for this tournament. A 7th placing is a satisfactory result His brother Jasper started in September and managed to score 4.5 pts finishing 6th position 

My only tournament this year got me a veteran's prize of $50 in overall 13th position, losing 3 games which gave me a lot of insights in my play. I shall annotate 1 of them in the near future.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Dear parents of young chessplayers,

I'm sure many of you will have useful feedback and comments regarding the dialogue session conducted on Sunday. The floor is open, please state your name and feel free to say what you feel. I shall not be publishing anonymous comments without names attached.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


The following results of my students after 4 rounds of the 2014 National Age Group:

Zachary Leong                Boys  U8        2.5 pts
Cadence Loh                   Girls  U8        2.0 pts

Lee I-Shiang                   Boys U10       3.0 pts
Isaiah Ng                        Boys U10       2.5 pts
Malcolm Sow                 Boys U10       2.0 pts
Naython Tan                  Boys U10       2.0 pts
David Tan                      Boys U10       1.5 pts
Cheong Sue Lyn            Girls U10       3.0 pts
Shannon Ooi                  Girls U10       2.0 pts

Gavin Koh                     Boys U12       2.5 pts
Caleb Loh                      Boys U12       2.0 pts
Jonathan Tan                 Boys U12       1.5 pts

Bryan Sow                    Boys U14        3.5 pts
Natalie Tan                   Girls U14        0.0 pts

Results of course do not tell the whole story; there were instances where some finished their games way before the first hour was through, accepting draws when there was ample opportunities to try for a win. Caleb managed to upset Delroy Singh on Round 2:

Overall, many who scored more than 2 points were concentrating on their games but need to slow down , use their time to field their best reply.

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.