Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ROLE MODELS

After reading a post from a fellow chess-organiser on why we do not have the hunger for success in chess, I started looking back at my earlier post on HUNGER FOR SUCCESS.

There seems to be a void of role models in our local scene. Today's chess-players will probably not heard of Terence Wong, or Alphonsus Chia, or Lim Seng Hoo, Wong Meng Kong, Tan Lian Ann or Leslie Leow - how these local born players have reached international status in their chess careers which may span from the 60's -80's.

Terence Wong finished SECOND behind David Goodman in the 1975 edition of the World Cadets (now World Youth Championship).  Alphonsus was in the World Cadets in 1976 in the company of Kasparov and Short and finished 9th (Kasparov was 5th). Tan Lian Ann was in the Candidates Tournament at Petropolis in 1973 and had some good games with Geller, Smyslov, then again at the 1976 Interzonal. Leslie Leow was also a formidable opponent in his hey-days, winning the National Championship and claiming some GM scalps from the early days of Siegen 1970 till the Olympiads in 1988. Lim Seng Hoo shared the chess honours in the 80's, often overcoming the region's top players before becoming an IM  He was deffinitely GM material but chose to retire.The final Asian Junior Champion from our shores was of course our GM Wong Meng Kong who won the title in 1979 in Tehran and was awarded the IM title then. At the ladies end, Ms Liew Oi Wah entered the Interzonals in 1981 but chose to take her O levels that year.

There are of course many others who've graced the international stage which I can name spanning 2 generations - Dr Goh Cheng Hong, Teo Kok Siong, Chan Peng Kong, Quek Suan Fuan, Dennis Tan, Tan Chee Keon,  Choong Liong Onn, Tan Lian Seng, Giam Choo Kwee, Tay Watson, Mok Kwong Weng, Pang Kwok Leong, Wong Meng Leong, Chia Chee Seng, Koh Kum Hong, Lim Chye Seng, down to Alvin Ong, Soh Kok Hong, Ian Wong,  Hsu Li Yang, Low Pe Yeow, Lee Wang Sheng, Ong Chong Ghee,Wong Foong Yin, Mark Tan, Malcolm Tan, Terry Toh, Mark Lim, Dr Jeremy Lim, Lim Hoon Cheng, Lau Keng Boon, Gregory Choong, Mark Chan,Tan Tzer En... the list goes on.

It is indeed a pity that SCF does not tap on these distinguished persons to showcase to the parents that we once had WORLD-BEATERS - that's right, players who once took on the international stage and are capable on holding our own against the top. These players ought to be invited back to major school competitions and inspire our youth of what it is to reclaim international glory.  Without a clear view of the sky which is the limit, it is little wonder that I often hear of  self-defeating comments made  by players that they cannot overcome their obstacles. 

Let me end with a quote from the past-FIDE president Mr F Campomanes : " And sport must have heroes. Without heroes, what will beginners look up to? They like to see somebody going up. All these things add up as inspiration for the young man. You need heroes in any sport to attract to it. But heroes are not and should never be exempt from discipline. They should set the highest example..."

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