Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Dear members,

       As promised we are starting a league of slow games for you who prefer to spend some time thinking about your game. The time control is 1 hour per side. The chief focus is to get members to appreciate the game of chess through the discipline of thinking, planning and strategising.

       We will prepare a crosstable which will allow you to play any player at most twice, with alternating colours. The aim is to for each member to play as many games on Fridays. The last round will be on March 30, where we will then add up the total points gained by each member. Prizes will be given to the top 3 placings.

       All members please write to me at to register. The closing date fot registration is Feb 1 2012.

Friday, January 20, 2012


In view of the coming Lunar New Year festivities, please be informed that we are closed today and will resume practice on 27 Jan NEXT Friday




It was a fun-filled and no-incidents day at the Thomson Club Championships, althought some players who signed up for the Seniors ended up at the Juniors instead due to a mis-categorisation at registration. I apologise to all for this and we will do better next year.

Tan Wei Liang showed and won the Seniors with 6.5/7 after some months of inactivity. Many of his games were filled with complications but experience told in the end. Here's a happy Tan Wei Liang, with tournament chief arbiter Christopher Lim , presented with the Jimmy Ng Challenge Trophy for the Senior's Champion.

The Junior's Section was approximate in numbers to the Senior's with 44 entries. This was the total number of entries for the whole tourmament last year! So it was a blessing that many chose to take part. Some of the top Juniors wanted to play in the Seniors, like Ashvin, Tommy, Qing An and I truly admire their desire to play against stronger opponents without worrying about whether they will eventually win anything. We need juniors with this healthy attitude because they will go on stronger and stronger to take on tougher opponents in the future.

Ashvin won the Junior's with a score of  6.5  pts winning his last game against Qing Aun, held to a draw only by Alfred Chua. Tommy finished second dropping a game to Lee Jun Wei. My observations were fighting chess was the order of the day for the top seeds. 

My students fared satisfactorily with Nicholas on 4 pts, Dan Peng and Royce on 3 and Joshua on 2. It is a strong U12 tournament after all.

The surprise came in the Seniors when Mitchell Han scored 5 pts to take 7th position. This is an incredible score for him so he's got to handle 4 adult players and got 2.5pts. Against his peers, he successfully beat off Brendan's attack and won, though the draw with Joven was suspect (Mitchell had two pieces for a rook).

The prize giving ended with only 5 trophies for 6-10 positions in the Junior's section. All others received books (though used, but in good condition). It is an idea I learnt while I was working in Norway back in 1989. The tournaments there gave books donated by club members as prizes and the Champion gets the first pick of all the books on display, then 2nd place picks and so on. It is a system that will encourage the reading of chess books for self-improvement which encourages further chess growth amongst our youth.  Mitchell (after some advice) chose the Sorceror's Apprentice, a good autobiography of the legend David Bronstein.

Bronstein was a genius in creating so many wonderful games and his chief legacy was the his account of the Zurich 1953 Candidates Tournament. I hope to find a copy of this for next year's Club championship.

Those who wish to look the Senior's results click here, the Junior's results here

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


85 entries have been received at closing for our Annual Thomson Chess Club Championship. All are now members of the club and are free to come by every Friday to our weekly practice sessions starting  7pm.

We are giving away books and some trophies as prizes. Winners get first pick from a selection of 30 books displayed throughout the tournament. The aim is to encourage chessplayers to read about the game and foster their knowledge and skills on their own apart from relying on lessons. It has been proven that knowledge gathered through reading will always stick.

This event will be SCF rated and we will try to put up the starting list on Friday.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


A friend asked if there will be anyone interested in buying his used (near new) copy of


Interested parties can email me at Each book is under $30.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Most of the students were inactive in the 4th quarter, so here's the ones registered changes at the Jan 2012 rating list:

With the exception of Hui Ling (who will undoubtedly see a jump when her rating is calculated in March thanks to her good performance at the last tournament), the rest registered healthy increases, notably Shi Hao's 124 pt increase thanks to his consistently good performance throughout the Queenstown and Rating Tournaments in Dec. Mitchell's Queenstown performance netted him 71 pts. while Visakan got his 49 pts from the Children's Day tournament. Same goes for Samuel at the last Children's Day tournament.

I am heartened by their scores and hope that they will keep this up at the tournaments this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Shi Hao garnered points from the unrated players like himself but lost against the rated Indians and a very strong Chinese Zhou Xiangheng. 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses is a satisfactory result for his first International outing. Though 2 of the games could have been saved if he had studied the opening more and played slower in the first 10 moves, as he lost pieces due to simple tactics and was not familiar with the lines he played.
Hui Ling was the surprise of the group, getting 5.5 / 9. She even managed to win against Breasha Gupta of India  Though she scored only 0.5 from the first 2 days, she steeled herself to coast a winning streak of 5 wins till round 8. At the last game, she fell to an attack by Malaysia's Teh De Zen and lost. In spite of that, she had the best score out of my 6 students taking part. Her result came ahead of several Junior Squad trainees and for that, she should rightfully be very proud of her successful first International outing.
Though he managed a smile for this picture, nothing could be further from the truth that he had only 3.5 pts before the last round. Sam was hardworking throughout the tournament, preparing and working on the board longer than many of the other students and often last to finish, but the results were not rewarding. He would need to review his skills at the sight of the board to do better. For the effort he put in the games, he did get a gift of a chessbag from me despite the 3.5 pt result. A small setback, but a valuable lesson learnt in understanding what needs to be done. 
Adrian always had what it takes to finish at the top, but never realised his potential owing to imagined fears he had of his opponents. I was very mad at him for agreeing to a draw offer by Indonesia's FM Ivan Maximillan when the position was obviously winning for Adrian. Our preparations worked to a T and yet he was afraid to deliver the final blow. Poetic justice soon found its way in the form of facing Vietnamese FM Tran Tuan Minh and he duly lost under intense pressure to end at 5/9 in 14th position.  He will need to undergo tougher training in mental preparation if he is to do better in such tournaments in the future.     
Mitchell only started chess in November 2010 and took part in this competition with relatively little experience in terms of tournament games. Whatever his shortcomings  in terms of  tournament play,  he made up for it in terms of  hard work in preparation on his opening lines and studied diligently to perfect his understanding of the endgame. These came to good use when he managed to keep his cool under  attack from India's Aditya Lodha who had one stage was assaulting his King but blundered a piece in the skirmish. Mitchell managed to bring home the point at this critical round to end up 5/9 on 17th position, ahead of players such as  Benjam in  Yick and  Sa muel Tan who took part in more tournaments than he did. A most commendable effort  by this quietly confident student who I believe will outshine many of the talented boys simply because he loves chess and is  constantly improving.      
Nicholas's nerves gave way being his first International outing, which is understandable. He had the poorer of the draw , met and lost to Wong Yinn Loong in a French, Tommy Tan and Jerome Chan who were stronger. The game he should not have lost was against Keven Chua where he was up the exchange but lost a Rook in return for his hastiness to attack. Such lessons are painful but also beneficial for his growth. He can hold his own against the 4.5 point players but not those who did better. In spite of that, his 4.5 score for a first outing is commendable.

Though all my students qualified with ease for the NJ Training, I doubt if they would benefit much from it as they have had good scores when working with me and I hope to prove that once again, you do not need any training squad to imply that you can play chess well when your results speak for themselves.

Thanks to all their parents who consented to their 8 day training stint which had helped in their conduct of the game, especially Oileng and Chan Hong who offered their home for the boys to rest on days where there were 2 rounds to play. Thanks also to John Yeo for use of the function room in his condo for the training to take place.