Sunday, March 18, 2012


This year's National Schools Individuals Chess Tournament 2012  at Northland Primary School saw significant results from my students who competed. Preparatory work started in February with close monitoring on their state of knowledge of opening lines, coupled with drills on tactics with lots of game practice online and OTB. I shall cover the various Age Groups, from the youngest to the oldest.

   Visakan did well to come in 9th position though he could have done better in my opinion. Malcolm Sow emerged 15th with 5 pts, after 1 month of training.


Royce Tan (who started with me a few months ago) made good progress this year after we made some changes in his White repertoire. He was playing the King's Indian Attack as White, which I feel was not the right choice for his personality given that he loves open positions where his pieces could attack. Generally strong in tactics, playing the KIA is akin to caging a soaring eagle. With his new weapons, Royce managed to climb to 4th position in his group.

The 2 other boys did not achieve their targets, mainly as they have yet to appreciate the need to use their eyes first to comprehend their opponent's move before making their own. It cost them dearly. As to the Under 10 Boys, Royce competed and stood at 17th place while Louis and Yuji fared poorly to finish, mainly due to insufficient practice.

The star of the Under 10 Boys undoubtedly goes to Nicholas Low, who has been diligently following my advice to play regularly online and checking his losses to improve himself. I am very proud of Nicholas mainly because he focussed on his game every round and only lost to Alfred because he was unfamiliar with his own preparation (he admitted he did not watch the video about his line and went astray.)


Tricia was playing her first National Individuals and was a little awed by the event, but she enjoyed herself scoring mainly wins over her fellow team mates. Having insufficient practice meant that she was often not perceptive at the board, lacks board vision and often missed opportunities when presented. She would need to spend more time playing if she wants to better her performance next year.

Hui Ling performed up to expectations of her 4th seeding.


I had high hopes for Shi Hao as his performance over the last year was exceptional. We had an overhaul early this year and he enjoys his latest weapons, so he no longer scores only with White. 6th position overall is a great score, being ahead of Rudolph Lau (though he lost) and Tommy Tan who definitely spent lots more hours in chess than he did. A performance rating of 1483 will see some more rating points coming his way.

UNDER 13 - 15
 Sadly Adrian could not muster enough courage to beat Aw Khai Loong and brave the final game against the top 4. It is not so much the result but what I was looking for is the gumption that he must have in order to move ahead. He definitely has the talent ( even back in his younger days he was already Derek's match) but lacks the bit of guts to climb out of his comfort zone to win. Hence he had to beat his friend for the last game to score 5.5 pts depriving Samuel of a chance to come into the top 10.

The giant killer of the Under 14 must be  Mitchell Han of SJI. Coming out of nowhere, he breezed through with 4/4 before being stopped by the Champion Soo Kai Jie. After that, he threw away a win (possibly due to fatigue) in the last round after being a piece ahead and secured a draw. It would be interesting to note what happens if he did win his last game, as it would place him in 3rd place. Not bad indeed for someone who managed to bring down the top seed Calvin Ong!

My students in Victoria School, despite their jovial and often clownish behaviour, took their games seriously and I am most impressed by Zhong Yi who, though never good enough for the Junior Squad, could still perform well against the favourites. Jonah Huang and Elliot were consistent in coming in at 8th and 9th positions respectively. Joven was a little disappointed at 20th placing. Time to buck up!

All of my students did not join the National Junior Squad and most do not see the point to join. Most of them have performed beyond my expectations. I credit this success to them as all I did was to help them understand themselves, play in the style that suits them rather than me. More importantly, I have constantly reminded them not to be overawed by reputation or rating. What matters are the moves that will distinguish who's the better player, not whether he or she is part of an institution. Time effectively spent on proper methods (in improving their thought processes, sharpening their tactical senses) will go a long way in securing major improvement in chess, not on playing training games with no objective in mind and no thorough analysis of the games after the games were played. As school children, we all need to understand that their schedules are packed with schoolwork and not everyone has the 5 hours a week to indulge in chess. Hence it is important to work on first things first - to improve the playing strength of the player rather than forcing them to lead a routine which sadly, only grandmasters and chess professionals want to live on.

Having heard the announcement that for this year's Age Group Championships in Singapore, the right to participate can only go to those who enrolled in the Junior Squad. I have no choice but to look for similar tournaments elsewhere. The Malacca Heritage Tournament and the Penang Open are good choices and I hope to get my students to better their performances in these tournaments.


  1. Congrats! Great Results by your students.

    Also, I just posted the info on 39th Selangor Open (1st - 6th May) in my blog. It offers medal to top 3 Schools with 4 players/school may be a good option too.

    1. Thanks for the information. However, May 1 to 5 is too close to their exams and sadly we will have to forego the event. I wonder if there are plans to move the dates of the Selangor Open in the future toward the start of the school holidays in June? That will be ideal.