Monday, 17 December 2007

Singapore - Providing Leadership, a Model, and a Centre for Asian Chess

On the 15th of December 2007, the 19th Singapore-Malaysia Chess Challenge played over 140 matches took place. Predictably it was yet another victory for Singapore, this time by a score of 87 to 53, perhaps a flattering margin of defeat for Malaysia as for the third year in a row, Singapore opted to expose their juniors and girls and to blood younger less experienced players.

The next day, the 16th of December 2007, the Seminar for Coaches started. And one day later, on 17th of December 2007, the 4th Singapore International Chess Convention swung into full gear with the Masters, Challengers and the FIDE Arbiters Seminar all getting underway.

Every year there seems to be additions, often innovations, but all successfully contributing to the development of chess in the region - after all Singapore is a small place and much of what it does only makes sense if the rest of the world takes advantage and participates.

Early this year Singapore was selected to host the first ever FIDE (World Chess Federation) branch office, the excuse being to coordinate the work of FIDE commissions, but really a tribute to the FIDE General Secretary's abilities and the success of the ASEAN Chess Academy.

I would dare to say it is also because the FIDE President recognises the importance of Asia - both China and India as clearly amongst the leading chess nations today and more threaten to follow - and we know that in 2008 the Olympics will take place is in Beijing, Asia, and it is no secret that FIDE has long wanted the IOC to agree to chess becoming as a full fledged sport in the Olympic Games (It is no accident that FIDE's second branch office has been set up at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switerland).

Singapore this time around is not only organising the first ever FIDE Chess Administrators Management Course but is also playing host to the FIDE Presidential Board Meeting which will ensure senior FIDE officials can also be speakers while seeing for themselves as delegates what the Singapore Chess Federation and the ASEAN Chess Academy has achieved with very limited resources in a very short time.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Getting International Coaching Qualifications

During the 1st Masterskill ASEAN+ Youth Team Championships being held from 1-7 December 2007 in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, the ASEAN Chess Academy - Malaysia, together with MSSM (National Schools Sports Council) will be organising a National Instructor/Developmental Instructor Course.

To be held concurrently with the ASEAN+ Youth Teams, this seminar is targeted at teachers and is also suitable for those who wish to teach chess to children and is also the fulfilment of my promise to help others become internationally qualified chess coaches after I met the FIDE Trainer title requirements in December 2006 (I will be one of the two main trainer-examiners).

Among the topics of particular importance are: FIDE & The Role of Regional Chess Academies, Trainers' Certification, Benefits of Chess, Chess in Schools, Methods & Ideas in teaching Chess to Kids, Managing the Classroom: Challenges & Solutions, Teaching Beginners, Practical ways & techniques of teaching beginners, Methodology, tools, sources, Using/Creating lesson plans/preparing worksheets, Using the Internet/libraries in lesson preparation process, and Trainers' assets: Attitude, ethics, image, professionalism.

While the normal fee is USD 300, we are offering this program for just RM 800 (including sponsorship of the one-off FIDE registration and a 2 year licence of approximately RM 500 for those who pass).

MSSM has entered 16 teachers, one from every state and so only 4-8 places remain on a first come first serve basis.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Macau Was Host to a Simply Wonderful Asian Indoor Games Experience

Macau, China, was host to the 2nd Asian Indoor Games from 26 October to 3 November 2007 and I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Asian Chess Federation to one of the technical officials there.

It has been some time now since the event successfully concluded and from the 9 Gold medals on offer, India won 5 to be the deserving overall champions, China 3, and Qatar got 1, and if you don't know already, the games, results, etc. can still be found at the official websites: http://www.asia-chess.com/ and http://www.maigoc2007.com/.

Between working 16 hour days from 23 October when I arrived and getting ready for the coming Masterskill ASEAN+ Youth Team Championships after returning home, I have had little time to dwelt on the wonderful time we all had at an almost perfectly organised games, yet, even if for a moment, I can only have the warmest feelings towards Macau, its people, MAIGOC and of course my colleagues from all over Asia who really pulled together to make it happen in the best possible way under sometimes fairly demanding circumstances.

Here I need to also put on record the hard work of the Macau Chess Federation led by their tireless President Jose Silveirinha whose team of volunteers (drawn from all walks of life!) delivered the bulletins daily, rapid chess and all!

Our story is at a photo journal captured in the last few days by many contributors at http://picasaweb.google.com/peterlong64

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Bringing together Malaysia's Young Players for Friendly International Competition

It is now official! The 1st Masterskill ASEAN+ Youth Team Championships will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1-7 December 2007 at the Grand Ballroom of the 5 Star Concorde Shah Alam Hotel.

This inaugeral event, held during Visit Malaysia Year 2007, is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Education Malaysia and the ASEAN Chess Confederation, and is open to any properly constituted or representative organisation. There are three categories, U-15, U-12 and U-9 and each team consists of 4 players and 1 reserve. A girl must play at all times so to help "all boy" organisations, a female guest player is allowed.

As entries start to trickle in from other ASEAN nations as well as from our friends from nations in other parts of Asia and the World, MSSM (National Schools Sports Council) has entered a national team and 15 state teams, making a total of 48 teams representative of our talent in schools from all over the country.

It is indeed very significant that perhaps for the first time ever, an international chess tournament is being jointly organised with a Ministry of Education anywhere is the world so it really does seem we have on our hands a genuine case of "Malaysia Boleh"!

www.aseanchess.com

The Start of the ASEAN Grand Prix! Kudos to the Philippines!

With confirmation of the dates of back to back Philippine legs in Manila offering a combined prize fund of US$ 70,000, the first ever ASEAN Grand Prix launched at the 6th Individual Asian Chess Championship in Cebu, Philippines with great fanfare by the chess leaders of the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore is now a reality!

The GMA Cup will be the first leg and held from 21-29 November 2007 followed by the Prospero Pichay Jr Cup immediately after from 1-7 December 2007. After a very short break, the Singapore Masters/Challengers will be next from 16-22 December 2007.

Each Masters event will have a minimum prize fund of US$ 10,000 and played over 10 rounds using the Swiss system and participants are required to have a minimum 2100 rating. There is also a tournament star rating system based on the prize fund starting with 1 Star for US$ 10,000 (with additional stars awarded in US$ 5,000 increments) and only ASEAN players are eligible for Grand Prix Points.

A total of 6 legs has been confirmed to date, one more by the Philippines and one each in Indonesia and in Vietnam.

www.fide.com, www.aseanchess.com

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A FIDE First! - Chess Administrators Management Seminar in Singapore

I am very pleased to learn that FIDE has finally recognised and responded to the obvious need to have competent administrators in its member federations.

This first ever Chess Administrators Management Seminar is being organised by the FIDE Office in Singapore from 18-21 December 2007 together with the Singapore International Chess Convention and the faculty named is impressive indeed, as they are in the main the leading experts in the topics they are presenting.

All administrative aspects will be covered, from the communications flow between federations to zone/continent and FIDE, applications for FIDE ratings and titles, the bidding and inspection for hosting of events, and financial regulations.

Of special interest perhaps are the sesssions on the management of national federations and their relationship with NOC/IOC, legal relationships between player, organisers and federations, chess in schools and junior development, trainer certification, and of course media, publicity, PR and marketing.

www.fide.com