Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014


It has been a while since the Primary and Secondary sections of the National Schools Individuals Championships were played on the same duration. The grand spectacle was officially opened by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

My main activity for the past 2 days was primarily focused on getting my students to settle down amidst the hustle and bustle. Once the rounds started I left them to tend to their games, though some parents' however were glued to their childrens' moves. Some even resorting to prompting their kids' responses - this I find perturbing as we should not go beyond winning the game at all costs. 

I was tasked to groom the Lower Junior boys from Henry Park Primary and thankfully the efforts paid off with Michael Yeo and Gavern Ong garnering 8th and 12th placing. The others too  made good scores. 

Michael and Gavern with their medals

I-Shiang managed 8th place in the Junior Boys and I am proud of his achievement. All he needs is a little more determination and drive to reach the summit. Isaiah got into the top 20, probably his first time in the NSI. Other worthy results were Qi Xuan, Malcolm, Nash and David who put in good effort. Ryan, Naython and Joseph should reflect on their games, for they are capable of better results in my opinion. 

I Shiang (3rd from right)

Sue Lyn had a great tournament - she had Sunshine on the ropes in their game being a Rook up but could not retain her composure and stalemated. Nonetheless she played the remaining games with determination and got herself 2nd just behind Danielle. The 2 girls were her nemesis for some time and this tournament has closed the psychological gap. I believe it will not be too long a wait before she eclipses them. For her effort, she has earned the trip to play in the coming Asean Age Group championships in Macau in June. 

South Zone winners

A beaming Sue Lyn in her best result thus far
Another breakthrough occurred in the Senior Girls with Isabelle Chiang and Charmaine Sim from RGPS entering the top 20 circle. I am pleased that Isabelle has finally overcome her fear of her usual peers and played some good games to score. Charmaine's performance is also commendable being in the company of top Senior players like Hui Ling and Gillian. The other girls, Shina and Ashley should not feel too disappointed in their results for they had just joined Chess this year. 

Charmaine (extreme left) and Isabelle (4th from right)
 RGPS had 3 medal winners in the South Zone...

Working with Gavin for the past 2 months revealed a lack of confidence in his play - mainly from self-imposed mental blocks due to poor preparation. We managed to correct that, improving his focus on the game as well. This time he moved ahead of his notable peers like Alfred Chua, Carwyn Yeo, Heng Zheng Kai to finish 9th place. 


Royce managed 4th placing this time despite starting 5/5 on the first day, probably lacking in stamina rather than preparation.

Gavin Koh (extreme right)

Qing Aun joined VS this year and we were rooting for him to come in strongly. He did not disappoint and got 3rd placing behind Liu XiangYi and Tin JingYao. For the East Zone, VS garnered 4 medals with Qing Aun, Zhong Kai, Cephas Yeo and Ethan Low.

C Division East Zone medal winners

C Division top 3 winners

In summary, the majority of my students had delivered and I am extremely pleased with their efforts. Looking forward to the Team competition. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


Reading this article will definitely save your children from zero-starting on March 21 and 22!

If you are coming via the PIE then TPE, exit at Loyang Ave and drive along till Pasir Ris Drive 3. Turn left into it and once past Downtown East on your right (about 1 km after turn from Loyang), you will see East Vale on your left and once past the river the Sports Hall is on the left turn into Pasir Ris Central.

Try NOT to alight your child at the Sports Hall Drop Off (see below). Imagine 975 students and estimated double the number of parents alighting from this driveway! Getting your child there will be a lot faster if you choose alternative drop offs.

One is at the side of East Vale and walk across the bridge to the Hall, Do not turn into Pasir Ris Central Rd for I am sure the  will be conjested on that day. The other is to alight at the Pasir Ris MRT station and walk across (about 5 minutes).

Another hassle free drop off is to turn left to Pasir Ris Drive 6 right after you past Downtown East. Keep right and  turn into block 407-408 which is the side where Hai Sing Catholic School is. There are lots of carparks there and once you are parked you can cross the Park Connector into the back of the Sports Centre.

Cross over to the Sports Hall
Block 408 end next to connector

Here is the view of the drop-off point. The stairs to the Sports Hall are on the right
of the picture below.

The Sports Hall can hold the 975 students but I think there are limited spaces for the parents.

The viewing gallery can at most sit about 150 to 180 people each side so many will have no alternative but to move.

Besides White Sands Shopping Centre (which should have the usual eateries), the Sports and Recreation Centre has got MacDonald's and Toastbox, while Downtown East is about 15 minutes walk away. There is an open air carpark opposite Downtown East which you can park for $4 for the whole day. Coupon parking applies at the carparks on Block 407-408. The Red lots there are available from 7am to 7pm. Alternatively you can try Downtown Park just after the Sports Hall on Pasir Ris Central but enter the carpark from Pasir Ris Drive 1 side and go towards Block 530D.

Hope this information helps you to get your children on time for the tournament!

Monday, January 27, 2014


On 25 Jan Kasparov was an invited guest to the TATA Steel GM tournament and held a press conference there. Here he discusses the "Contractgate" issue that was featured in the Sunday Times.

Viewers can fast forward to 20:02 for his take on the matter.


It was business as usual but owing to some entries that came in after closing date causing some confusion, the tournament start was delayed by 20 minutes. Eventually we managed to close the gap in between rounds to finish at 6pm regardless.

For the Seniors section we have Lee Qing Aun, Edwin Lam, Shawn Yong, Osric Mooi and Jimmy Ng while Alexander Chan, Marcus Chen and Jeremiah Xie were the top seeds in the Juniors section. A good mix of adults and children.

The Thomson Chess Club Championship is unique in that we do not offer cash nor trophies as prizes, but used chess books. This is to entice the good habit of self-learning amongst chess-players. I vividly remember the days where chess instrruction was only available if you go to chess clubs and well-meaning seniors show you a thing or two if they chose to. Hence my fondness for collecting good chess books, which I now offer to the next generation so that they too can benefit.

8 prizes out of 40 participants per Section meant 16 happy prizewinners, the Champion being Lee Qing Aun who scored 6.5 pts followed by Shawn Yong.Osric and Jimmy Ng. Royce Tan performed impressively on 5 with wins over Jimmy and Anoop Jayaraj and had Shawn Yong on the ropes before blundering near time trouble. Zhong Kai lost the first 2 but regained his form to finish on 4 (including a walkover from Winston Low).

Alexander Chan made perfect score of 7 pts, followed by Marcus Chen  and Jaryl Lee on 5.5 . My students Isaiah, Nash and Nicholas made 4 pts and 4.5 respectively while Qi Xuan only managed 3.5. Ryan was still finding his way in the openings so he only got 3 along with Cadence. Bringing up the rear was Caleb. 

I'd say most of the players enjoyed themselves and we hope that they will join us on our Friday sessions taking place from 730pm to 10pm. I am revising the opening hours because I realise nobody comes on in at 7. We have our adults league and endgame league still on-going. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Till date we have 82 registered players for the Championship, meaning as of 2014 January we have now 82 members of the Club. Welcome!

This Sunday's event starts 10am and we do not impose zero-start. However, we are also not encouraging players to go on byes as we do not award points for byes requested prior to the competition. If the pairing during the competition indicates a bye for the player owing to odd number of participants that is fair.

Parking is free on Sundays at the Shunfu Rd carpark for blocks 312-318.

Many asked about the prizes. For those who've participated before, we do not give trophies. I am only giving away used chess books as prizes for both sections. Hence, during prize giving, we will announce the Champion first who gets first pick of the books laid on the table. They are from my private collection and should be worth something.

Lastly, this tournament is not rated in any way.

See you all Sunday!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I can only sum up last night's SCF meeting with training vendors under the caption above.

The chess training community presently provides chess-trainers to schools and local individuals wanting chess lessons, comprising no more than 3-5 chess schools and several freelance trainers.  

The SCF President opened the floor to stress that it is not in the SCF's interest to vie for the chess-training jobs in schools. This is mainly a commercial matter best left to supply and demand amongst the training community. 

Key trust of the meeting was the news of chess in schools receiving a boost owing to the visit of Garry Kasparov. Garry  managed to convince some members of the cabinet to give chess a chance to develop young minds in the schools program. 
Hence the relevant ministries are surveying the potential of expanding chess training in the schools, currently from the 30 to 40 (as indicated from the GEBIZ tenders) to larger numbers. In that regard, SCF wished to work with the training community to pre-empt the possible increase in demand for chess trainers  through facilitating the process of application through the MOM and assistance provided in helping chess schools alleviate any shortage of training staff.

Several issues were discussed yesterday by a good representative turnout, notably the issue of state representation from players groomed by the community who may not wish to join the National Junior Squad on reasons of schedule or expediency. An appeal was made to the SCF to reconsider the stand of selecting junior players representing Singapore solely from the confines of the NJS. The President assured all present that potential interested players should write in to apply for their place for consideration, that the door is not permanently shut. Moreover, there will be initiatives announced soon that will allow every junior hopeful to enrol in a program to spawn Singapore's next generation of chess world-beaters. 

Other concerns were the issue of schools currently having a peak demand for chess trainers on specific days like Fridays. The SCF acknowledges that this would take time to resolve but the main priority at hand was to secure a foothold in the school Sports CCA. Major changes to the current Inter-Schools format would be announced in due course to align the achievements of the teams to the Schools' Colours awards model. Other notable initiatives are the possible setup of more schools' events which may involve the international schools here. In line with the de-emphasise on competitive achievements in the current CCA program, more initiatives to empower the juniors in organising chess rather than playing will be introduced such as the formation of the SCF Junior Council. The SCF hopes the new Council will groom interested young chess players to take up leadership roles in chess organisation. Succession planning is therefore in the works. 

SCF may be introducing locally-governed accreditation to better regulate standards amongst chess-teaching professionals in due course, details would be released when due.

So, in all, it was an amicable dialogue with both parties exchanging honest ideas on how to further improve the services of the training community to the schools with the support of the SCF. The night ended with the SCF's call for solidarity amongst the various parties in the training community to gear up for a brighter school scene in the coming years.