Tuesday, December 3, 2013


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. 

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