Happen to come across a comment made not long ago about how misleading it is to compare Singapore's chess talent base with that of the chess superpowers China and India . His opinion is simply that we do not have the large numbers and base big enough to have extraordinary talent in chess to produce a world-class talent.
In my opinion, it seems contradictory to me when the writer inadvertently mentions a country like Norway, whose chess demographics and performances in the Olympiad paralleled Singapore in many ways, ie before the arrival of super-genius Magnus Carlsen. Since then, Norwegian chess has taken off from 3 GMs before Magnus to more than 10. Before Norway, there was Iceland, which produced world class GMs like Fridrik Olaffson and Sigurjonsson, before the Norwegians caught up. What about Israel? They had good players in Shimon Kagan (who competed with IM Tan Lian Ann in Petropolis 1973) and Uzi Geller, Moshe Czeniak before the Soviet emigrants arrived. Israel's population is currently 7.8 million, while Iceland's population is about 309,000 as of 2007 estimates. There's also Chile,about 15 million people but its top rated players are about 4 GMs and 6 IMs till date.
I could go on but you get the picture. Yes, the more populous countries have an edge in having the number of people who could become good at chess but that does not mean that small countries like Singapore do not. My previous post clearly showed that we have had world-class players back in the 70's and 80s. In 1982 our top board Leslie Leow (not yet an IM then) managed to beat GM Florin Gheoghiu of Romania who finished 12th while Singapore was 43rd. Dr Wong Meng Kong had the game of his life when he beat GM Speelman from England in the 1992 Manila Olympiad! There's also our "lost" IM Lim Seng Hoo too, who had plus results against Murray Chandler when he took part at the World Junior at Tjentiste in 1975.
Hence I share the view with SCF that we need to re-look at our current state of affairs in our own backyard, simply because we WERE that good before. After all, this is our country and we should know our chess history better right??