Now that our government is engaging all stakeholders (citizens and PRs) on what kind of country we would envision, certainly the time is also ripe for the chess community to rally together to discuss some important issues concerning chess in Singapore?
Some background knowledge may help:
SCF started in 1961. Tan Lian Ann became an IM in 1973 at the age of 26. He was then seeded into the Petropolis Interzonals and finished 16th-18th. Singapore competed in the Olympiads and finished 43rd in 1968, 40th in 1970 (64 countries took part), our best showing was in Dubai 1986 - 33rd out of 108 teams. In terms of individual world-class achievements, Terence Wong finished 2nd in the World Cadets (now the World Youth) in 1975 while Alphonsus Chia finished 9th in 1976. That year, Leslie Leow finished 4th-8th in the World Junior U20 in Groningen.
These players only had their books, themselves and constant sparring within the National squad but I can say that the number of strong adult players gave them good grounding in the 70s. So we had world beaters within our ranks in chess before without the assistance of computers, coaches and what not.
Question: Where is our junior scene heading to NOW?
Next, the rapidly dwindling of adults in the chess scene. Many are not keen to come out of retirement to play rapid chess and lose to active kids. Many of these adults are of course well-to-do individuals, busy with their schedules to play chess over-the-board. The number of social clubs in companies and institutions playing
chess back in the 80's number about 45. Today it is not over 10. Adult chess-players have been mainly replaced by foreigners who are active in our tournaments organised today. What's worrisome is that without our local adults' participation, the pool of sponsors also shrinks.
Question: Where are our sources of funding chess programs coming from?
Chess in the secondary schools is experiencing a serious erosion. JC participation has almost disappeared. It is shrinking rapidly in secondary schools due to the weird CCA ranking of chess. If the system does not change, we may not have any players rising from the primary schools continuing their chess career in secondary school. That means our remaining stock of good junior players will die off.
Question: How does SCF intend to arrest this worrying trend?