Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I've been toying with the idea of starting a Seniors vs Juniors match some time in 2014. This is to gather the old war-horses to return to play for a cause, to show they still have what it takes a play a decent game.

Of course, we have to allow the old war-horses time to polish up. Offering Thomson sessions on Fridays for them. Those who are keen please drop me a line at my email?


As the year ends, it is time to do a post-mortem of the events gone by and my intending projects next year.

I say goodbye to some of my students this year having taught them for the last 2 years. It is never my intention to hang on to them once they've covered the syllabus that I've set out. The materials have been imparted and its up to them to make use of it. If they see value in it to help them play better, that's good but if not, that's ok too as I'm sure that they would have learnt other life-long values from their time with me.

2014 is probably going to be moving at jetspeed so I'd really have to prioritise my time. Much as I'd like to take more students, it becomes difficult with many schools going full-day and students only have the later afternoons and evenings on weekdays for lessons. Weekends are precious and I'm trying not encroach into them as they remain the quality time for parents to catch up with their kids.

So hence, we may need to resort to having more lessons on the Internet via Skype to reduce travelling time. I realised that some years ago but as technology matures, going on the Internet is not much different that having me by the student's side. I will probably spend more time doing school classes to help more students in the afternoons from 3 to 5 pm.

Guess I'd have to be more selective in the students that come on-board. Those whom I feel not taking the game seriously would have to be dropped in order to make way for those that showed promise. Those having disciplinary problems during lessons may not be considered. So targets will have to be set and monitored.

I would also like to prepare a book of my syllabus next year  which can be used to educate the students better in their board vision ( the singular thing that most kids need to improve before their chess does). This will need some time off my teaching schedule.

A busy but fulfilling year ahead.


Toa Payoh West held its annual Rapid Chess Tournament on 1 Dec Sunday and attracted a very strong Open Section field, with 86 players, including 2 IMs, 1 FM and even inactive junior champions who decided to try their hand at the competition. Possibly because its not rated??

Just thought I'd feature the hardworking team led by Kenny Chern who normally assisted in the Cairnhill tournaments at this time of year, but due to the forthcoming renovations to the CC, the event was cancelled. Thanks to Chris the chief arbiter (he's camera shy), Hafiz , Chong Peng and Samuel for helping us out. 

Quite a few of my students participated in the Open, namely Royce Tan, Adrian Yeo, Bryan Sow, Tan Zhong Kai and Lee I Shiuan. In the Junior  there was U13, Caleb, Nicholas Low the U10 group saw Lee I Shiang, Malcolm Sow, Tan Qi Xuan, Naython Tan and Cadence Low the only girl. Sue Lyn did not turn up. 

The Open Section was in my opinion the strongest turnout that I've seen at Rapid tournaments with IMs Enrique Paciencia ( the eventual winner) and IM Luis Chiong, plus other trainers like Philippine NM Edgar Reggie Olay and Leonard Reyes. Our long lost junior champion Low Pe Yeow and former National Champion Derrick Heng also took part, as with other juniors Ben Foo, FM Tin Jing Yao Ashwin Sivakumar and Lee Qing Aun. What was heartening was that several adults who have not been active showed, eg Mak Chee Keong, Ng Hon Wing and even Nigel Tan, a former junior who played. Generally it was a tough field and therefore a 50% score should be satisfactory. Royce had his share of tough opponents like Ben Foo and IM Luis Chiong to finish with 3 while Adrian , Bryan and Zhong Kai managed 4 pts.  

As I was TD that day, taking care of the running of the tournament to ensure the best playing conditions was key so most pictures were taken by the parents of my students. I did manage to catch a glimpse of the students at play, observing their mannerisms and how they chose their moves. Generally they did well to focus on their boards, however some chose to vent their energies on the playground after the game than the chessboard. 

Malcolm and Naython would require quite a few tournaments to get their thinking routine right as they were still hurrying their moves and missing wins.

At the end of the day, the rewards go to those who took their time and played real chess. I was very proud of I Shiang, who showed great resilience coming back from a lost position against favourite Lim Tia Keat to win. He managed a perfect score of 7 pts to finish Champion in his category.  while Nicholas finished overall 8th and 3rd in the U11. Somehow he's lost some zest in his play and I'm sure he's capable of better results if he regains his focus for the game.

Cadence  did very well to emerge Champion for her U7 category. This must have been quite a morale booster for her since she's just started lessons with me. I can see that she's now more charged up to work on her game to aim for higher achievements come 2014. The other player I want to commend is Jaryl Seah (right). He is one of my most  obedient students, listened to advice and played well to finish 9th overall and 2nd in U10. Hence, you'd see that winning plays a large part in motivating their interests to do more. Hence preparation plays a big part in ensuring the win and to do that, I've encouraged them to play as many games on chess.com while weaning off their attention to computer games. In the long run, these children will grow to be pensive than impulsive, focused than aimless, better behaved in general than the ones I've seen running around. All the benefits you can give to your kids if they work on chess. Believe it.